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Entered sooording to Act of Congress, In the year 1852, bf 


In the Clwkli Office of the District Coort for the Sontiiem Diskriot of New York. 



Fob nearly lialf a century General Scott has occupied a 
prominent position in tlie history of the nation, but never 
one on which the eyes of men were fixed with such intense 
absorbing interest, as on that which he at present holds. 
After a man has reached seventy-five, nothing more can 
ordinarily be written of him than his obituary notice, 
but the most important portion of Scott's history is yet to 
be written. Though he has passed his threescore-and-ten, 
his great work is yet to be done. Had his lot been similar 
to that of ordinary mortals he, to-day, would be like a noble 
old vessel which, after having long battled with the elements 
and carried her country's flag triumphantly over every sea, 
was at last quietly anchored in a peaceful haven, to go no 
more out on the troubled deep. Instead of this, however, 
he is like that vessel set afloat on a last desperate voyage, 
and with all sail crowded upon her, launched forth amid the 
wildest storm that ever blew, whose destiny at best, even if it 
survives the tempest, will be to sink in the subsiding swell, 
but never more to reach the peaceful haven it has left. Be 


this as it may we trust and believe that he will live to see 
the great scheme he has devised for the suppression of this 
unnatural rebellion successfully carried out and the flag of 
the union waving over an undivided country. 

In view of the struggle on which he has entered I have 
thought it desirable to trace his past history up to the 
present time, on which such momentous destinies hang, to 
refresh our memory with an account of his gallant deeds, 
and to contemplate from the new point we occupy, the man 
to whom we have committed our destiny. 

A grateful people will soon be called to close up the 
record of his glory, and place him beside Washington, while 
one epitaph will answer for both, " Saviour of his Coun- 

Those who are interested in the military career of the 
chief leaders of the rebel army, who won all their laurels 
under the Stars and Stripes and leadership of the noble old 
patriot they are now in arms against, will find some account 
of them in the latter part of the work. 





Scott's Birth and Parentage — ^Became a La^vyer — ^Enters the Army — His 
Trial by Court-martial, and Suspension — His Studies — Ee-enters the Anny 
— Battle of Queenstown — Scott a Prisoner — Conflict with two Indians- 
Protection of his Irish Soldiers — Attack and Capture of Fort George, . U 


Scott superintends the Camp of Instruction at BuflFalo — Drills the Army- 
Crosses the Niagara — Pursues the Marquis of Tweesdale behind the Chip- 
pewa — Battle of Chippewa — Company of Backwoodsmen — Battle of Niagara 
— Charge of Miller — Scotfs 'Wound and Last Orders — Journey to Wash- 
ington — Eeceptlon at Princeton — Black Hawk "War — Scott amid the 
Cholera — Is challenged by Jackson — Becomes interested in the cause of 
Temperance — Takes command in South Carolina to crush the Disunionists 
— Settles the Difficulties on the Northern Frontier — Pursues the Chero- 


S«ott preserves peace on the Maine boundary — ^Friendship between him and 
the Governor of New Brunswick— Appomted Commander-in-Chief— 




Treatment at "Washington — Takes charge of the Army in Mexico — Mar- 
tial Law orders — Fire in the Bear — Landing at Vera Cruz — The Siege and 
Capture of the City — March to Cerro Gordo — ^The Battle — ^Entrance of 
Jalapa — Of Puebla — Eeduction of the Army, .... 70 


The Army at Puebla — ^Description of the Scenery — ^Arrival of Keinforce- 
ments — Departure for Mexico — Ascent to the Cordilleras — Magnificent 
Scenery — First View of the Plain and City of Mexico — The Eoad found 
Impassible — Difficult March round Lake Chalco to the Acapulco Boad — 
Attack on Contreras — Suffering and Anxiety of the Army at Night- 
Storming of the Fort — Enthusiastic Keception of Scott by his Victorious 
Troops — San Antonio Taken — The Three Battles of Churubusco— The 
Flight and Pursuit — Scott after Battle — The Mexicans propose an Armis- 
tice, . . . 93 


The Armistice— Scott resolves to carry Chapultepec by Storm — Description 
of the Fortress— Battle of Molino del Eey — ^The Field after the Victory— 
The Condition and Prospects of the Army at this time — Misbehavior of 
the Government— Defence of Scott— His Plan of assaulting Chapultepec— 
Da.7 preceding the Battle— The Final Attack, ...... Itt 



Bcott's Birth and Parentage — Became a La-wyer — Enters the Army — His Trial by 
tonrt-martial and Suspension — His Studies — Ee-enters the Army — Battle oi 
Queenstown — Scott a Prisoner — Conflict ■nith Two Indians — Protection of bis 
Irish Soldiers — Attack and Capture of Fort George. 

WiNFiELD Scott was born on the 13th of June, 1786, 
near Petersburgb, Yirginia. His ancestors were 
Scotch. Tlie elder brother of his grandfather fell on 
the field of Culloden ; and the latter, involved in the 
same rebellion, emigrated to this country, and com- 
menced the practice of law in Yirginia. He lived, 
however, but a few years, leaving two sons and several 
daughters. Winfield was the youngest of the sons, 
and was only five years of age at the time of his 
father's death. Twelve years after, the wife followed 
the husband to the grave, and young Scott, seventeen 
years old, was left an orphan in the world. It was 
determined by those who had the charge of him, to 
give him an education, and he was placed at a High 
School in Richmond, under the charge of Mr. Ogilvie, 


a man of distinction. Thence lie went to William and 
Marj's College, and attended law lectures for a year 
or more. He finished his legal studies under Mr. 
Robertson, a Scotchman, and in 1806 was admitted 
to the bar. He had galloped through his course at 
a pace that precluded thoroughness, and proper fit 
ness for his profession. Preparatory studies, college, 
laAv course, and all, occupied only three years, and at 
the age of twenty he was a practising lawyer. The 
rapidity with which he disposed of the piles of 
learning, ordinarily deemed essential to a finished 
lawyer, remind one of Goldsmith, who went through 
the whole circle of sciences in Edinburgh in six 

Not succeeding very well around his native place, 
young Scott removed to Charleston, in the hopes of 
establishing himself there ; but the laws of the State 
forbade any one to practise law within its limits who 
had not been a resident for at least one year, and 
failing to obtain an exemption in his favor, he 
abandoned his project, and returned to Yirginia. At 
this time the troubles with England began to assume 
a more serious character, and the expectation became 
general that they would end in war. Scott shared in 
this expectation, and like many other gallant young 
men of the south, turned from the profession of law to 
the army. In the spring of 1808, a bill for the en- 
largement of the army passed Congress, and Scott. 


who had applied for a commission in the new regi- 
ments, was appointed a captain of light artillery. 
During this year the j)urchase of Lonisiana from 
France was effected, and General Wilkinson was 
stationed there to protect ISTew Orleans from any 
hostile acts on the part of Great Britain. Scott be- 
longed to his division. The next year Hampton 
assumed the command, though "Wilkinson remained 
on the field of operations. Scott, coinciding with 
those who believed that Wilkinson was in Burr's con- 
fidence, and hence involved in the conspiracy of tlie 
latter, indulged rather freely in remarks on his supe- 
rior officer. As a natural consequence, he was -arrested 
and tried by court-martial. The first charge, intended 
as a mere rider to the second, that he had intention- 
ally withheld money from his troops, was declared 
groundless. The second, of unofficer-like conduct in 
using disrespectful language towards his superior 
oflScer, was sustained, for Scott acknowledged it, and 
attempted to justify it. Failing in this, he was sus- 
pended from the army for one year. To a sensitive, 
ambitious young officer, panting for distinction, this 
arrest of his footsteps on the threshold of his career, 
was painful in the extreme ; yet he lived to be thank- 
ful for it. Returning to Yirginia, he cast about to see 
how he should spend the interval of idleness. His for- 
tunate star guided him to B. Watkins Leigh, who ad- 
vised him to devote himself to the study of his pro 


fession, — especially military tactics. He offered him 
Lis librarj^ and his house, and Scott spent the year in 
mastering his profession. The knowledge of military 
art he gained during this period of his disgrace, the 
caution and skill it taught him to mingle with his 
chivalric feelings and boiling courage, laid the foun- 
dation of his after brilliant career. 

The cloud at this time along the political horizon 
gathered thicker and darker every hour, and the 
young captain of artillery feared it would burst be- 
fore he should assume his place and rank. The hol- 
low, disgraceful peace, however, continued, and at 
the close of the year he again took his position in 
the army. 

The next year, war was declared, and a month 
after, in July, he was commissioned lieutenant-colo- 
nel in the 2d artillery, then under the command of 
Izard, and was ordered to the Niagara frontier to 
assist the army of invasion. The two companies of 
Towson and Barker were under his command, with 
■which he was to protect the navy yard at Black 

At this time the northern army, numbering be- 
tween eight and ten thousand soldiers, was princi- 
pally concentrated in two points. One portion lay 
near Plattsburgli and Greenbush, and was under the 
direct command of General Dearborn, who was also 
commander-in-chief of all the forces on the northerr^ 


frontier. Tlie otlier portion was congregated at 
Le\\'istown, nnder tlie command of General Stephen 
\^an Rensalaer, of ISTew York, wliile 1,500 regulars, 
under General Smythe lay at Buffalo, a few miles 
distant. There were a few troops stationed also at 
Ogdensburg, Sackett's Harbor, and Black Rock. 

Tlie discontent produced by Hull's surrender, and 
tlie loud complaints against tlie inaction of tbe 
iiortliern army, together with the consciousness that 
something must be done to prevent tlie first year of 
war from closing in unmixed gloom, induced General 
Yan Kensalaer to make a bold j)usli into Canada, 
and by a sudden blow attem^Dt to wrest Jamestown 
from the enemy, and there establish his winter 

The cutting out of two English brigs* from under 
the guns of Fort Erie, by Lieutenant Elliot with some 
fifty volunteers, created an enthusiasm in the Amer- 
ican camp of which Gen. Yan Rensalaer determined 
to avail himself. 

Giving the command of the expedition to his 
cousin. Col. Solomon Yan Bensalaer, a brave and 
chivalric oflicer, the latter on the 13th of October, 
at the head of three hundred militia, accompanied 
l)y Col. Chrystie with three hundred regular troops, 

* One of those, the Caledonia, afterwards did good service £is a 
part of *.he fleet of Perry on Lake Erie. The other having gone 
aground, was burnt, to prevent recapture. 


began to cross tlie river. It wanted still an lioni 
to daylight, wlien tlie two columns stood in battle 
array on the shore, Throngh carelessness or inabil- 
ity to obtain them there were not sufficient boats to 
take all over at once, and they were compelled to 
cross in detachments. The boat which carried Col. 
Chrystie being badly managed, was swept away by 
the current, and finally compelled to re-land on the 
American shore. This gallant officer was wounded 
while thus drifting in the stream, yet soon after he 
made another attempt to cross, and succeeding, led 
his troops nobly until the close of the action. 

Col. Yan Rensalaer having effected a landing, 
formed on the shore and marched gallantly forward. 
The whole force at this time did not exceed one 
hundred men. These, however, were led up the 
bank and halted to wait the arrival of the other 
troops that kej)t arriving, a few boat loads at a time. 
But daylight now having dawned, the exposed posi- 
tion of this detachment rendered it a fair mark for 
the enemy, who immediately opened their fire ujjon 
it. In a few minutes every commissioned officer 
was either killed or wounded. Col. Yan Eensalaer 
finding that the bank of the river afforded very lit- 
tle shelter, determined with the handful under his 
command, to storm the heights. But he had now 
received four wounds, and scarcely able to stand 


gave the command to Captains Ogilvie and Wool,* 
wlio gallantly led on and swept eveiytliing before 
tliem. The fort was carried and the heights occu- 
pied, amid the loud huzza of the troops. Tlie ene- 
my were driven into a strong stone house, from which 
they made two unsuccessful attempts to regain the 
ground they had lost. Brock flushed with the easy 
victory he had gained over Hull, rallied them by his 
presence, and while attempting to lead on the gren- 
adiers of the 49th, fell mortally wounded. This for 
a time gave the Americans undisturbed possession 
of the heights, and great efibrts were now made to 
bring over the other troops. G-en. Yan Eensalaer, 
after the fall of his cousin, crossed over and took the 
command, but hastening back to urge on the em- 
barkation of the militia, the command fell on 
Gen. "Wadsworth, who, however, cheerfully gave 
the control of the movements to more experienced 

Daylight had seen this brave little band form on 
the shores of the river under a galling fire, the 
morning sun glittered on their bayonets from the 
heights of Queenstown. The victory seemed won ; 
and the day so gloriously begun would have closed 
in brighter eflfulgence, had not the militia on the 
farther side refused to cross over to the assistance 
of their hard-pressed comrades. A stone house near 

* Now General Wool. 


the bank defended by two liglit pieces of artilleiy. 
still played on the boats that attempted to cross, and 
the Americans on the Canada side, having no artil- 
lery, were unable to take it. The firing from this, 
and soon after the aj)pearance of a large body of 
.Indians on the field of battle, so frightened the mi 
litia, that neither entreaties nor threats could induce 
them to embark. Tlirough utter want of orderly 
management, half of the twenty boats had been 
destroyed or lost, still it was not the want of the 
means of transportation that held them back, but 
conscientious scruples about invading an enemjifs 
territory. Attempting to mask their cowardice un- 
der this ridiculous plea they stood and saw the dan- 
gers thicken around their comrades who had relied 
on their support, without making a single eflTort to 
save them from destruction. 

Lieutenant-colonel Scott by a forced march through 
mud and rain, had arrived at Lewistown with his 
regiment at four o'clock in the morning, and just as 
the troops were embarking. He begged permission 
to take part in the expedition, but the arrangements 
having all been made, his request was denied. He 
therefore planted his guns on the shore and opened 
his fire on the enemy. But seeing how small a pro- 
portion of troops were got across, and perceiving also 
the peril of Yan Rensalaer's detachment, his young 
and gallant heart could no longer allow him to be an 


idle spectator, and taking one piece of artillery lie 
jumped into a boat with his adjutant Roach, and 
pushed for the opposite shore. Wadsworth imme- 
diately gave the command of the troops to him, and 
his chivalric bearing and enthusiastic language soon 
animated every heart with new courage. Six feet 
five inches in height and in full uniform, he pre- 
sented a conspicuous mark for the enemy. Had his 
regiment been with him, Queenstown would have 
been a second Chippewa. 

Considerable reinforcements, however, had ar- 
rived, swelling the number to six hundred, of whom 
three hundred and fifty were regular trooj)S. Those, 
Scott, assisted by the cool and skilful Capt. Zitten, 
soon placed in the most commanding positions, and 
waited for further reinforcements. Just before, a 
body of five hundred Indians, whom the firing had 
suddenly collected, joined the beaten light troops 
of the English. Encouraged by this accession of 
strength, the latter moved again to the assault, 
but were again driven back in confusion. Still the 
enemy kept up a desultory engagement. On one 
occasion, the Indians, issuing suddenly from the 
forest, surprised a picket of militia, and following 
hard on their flying tracks, carried consternation 
into that part of the line. Scott, who was in the 
rear, showing the men how to unspike a gun, hear- 
ing the tumult, hastened to the front, and rallying a 


few platoons, scattered tliose wild warriors with a 
single blow. But while tlie day was wearing away 
in this doubtful manner, a more formidable foe ap- 
peared on the field. General Sheaffe, commanding 
at Fort George, had heard the firing in the morning, 
and a little later the news of the death of Brock was 
brought him. His troops were immediately put in 
motion, and soon after midday the little band that 
had from day dawn bravely breasted the storm, saw 
from the heights they had so gallantly won, a column 
eight hundi'ed and fifty strong, approaching the scene 
of combat. Kot in haste or confusion, but with slow 
and measured tread, they continued to advance. 
The three hundred Americans watched the approach 
of this new force with undaunted hearts, and 
turned to catch the outlines of their own advancing 
columns, but not a bayonet was moving to their 
help. At this critical moment news arrived of the 
shameful mutiny that had broke out on the opposite 
shore. The entreaties of Yan Eensalaer, and the 
noble example of Wadsworth, and the increasing 
peril of their comrades, were wholly unavailing — ^not 
a soul would stir. This sealed the fate of the 
American detachment. Three hundred, sustained 
by only one piece of artillery against the thirteen 
hundred of the enemy — their number when the 
junction of the advancing column with the remain- 
ing troops and the Indian allies should be effected — 


co'iistitiitecl hopeless odds. General Van Eensa- 
lear, from the opposite shore, saw this, and sent 
word to Wadsworth to retreat at once, and he 
would send every boat he could lay hands on to 
receive the fugitives. He however, left everything 
to his own judgment. Colonels Chrystie and Scott, 
of the regulars, and Mead, Strahan, and Allen of the 
militia, and officers Ogilvie, TVool, Totten, and Gib- 
son McChesney, and others, presented a noble yet 
sorrowful group, as they took council over this mes- 
sage of the commander-in-chief. Their case was 
desperate, yet they could not make up their minds 
to retreat. Col. Scott mounting a log in front of his 
troops, harangued them in a strain worthy of the 
days of chivalry. He told them their condition was 
desperate, but that Hull's sun^ender must be re- 
deemed. " Let us then die," he exclaimed, " arms 
in hand. Our country demands the sacrifice. Tlie 
example will not be lost. The blood of the slain 
will make heroes of the living. Those who follow 
will avenge our fall, and our country's wrongs. 
"Who dare to stand ?" a loud " All " rang sternly 
along the line.* In the meantime Gen. Sheaffe had 
arrived, but instead of advancing immediately to 
the attack, slowly marched his column the whole 
length of the American line, then countermarched 
it, as if to make sure that the little band in front 
* Vide Mansfield's Life of Scott. 


was all the force he had to overcome. All saw at a 
glance that resistance was useless, and retreat almost 
as hopeless. The latter, however, was resolved upon, 
but the moment the order was given to retire, the 
whole broke in disorderly flight towards the river. 
But there were no boats to receive them, and a flag 
of truce was sent to the enemy. The messenger, 
however, never returned ; another and another 
shared the same fate. At last Scott tied a white 
handkerchief to his sword, and accompanied by 
Captains Totten and Gibson, crept under one of the 
precipices, down the river, till he arrived where a 
gentle slope gave an easy ascent, when the three 
made a push for the road, which led from the valley 
to the heights. On the way they were met by 
Indians, who having fired on the officers, rushed 
forward, with their tomahawks, to kill them. They 
would soon have shared the fate of the other mes- 
sengers, but for the timely arrival of a British of- 
ficer, with some soldiers, who took the ofiicers to 
Gen. Sheaff'e, to whom Scott surrendered his whole 
force. Two hundred and ninety-three were all that 
survived of the brave band who had struggled so 
long and so nobly for victory. Several hundred 
militia, however, were found concealed along the 
Ehore, who had crossed over, but skulked away in 
the confusion. 

The entire loss of the Amerieans in this unfortunate 


expedition, killed and captured, was about one thou- 
sand men. 

General Yan Rensalaer, disgusted with the conduct 
of the militia, soon after sent in his resignation. 

Brock was next day buried " under one of the 
bastions of Fort George,'' and at the request of Scott, 
then a prisoner, minute guns were fired from Fort 
Niagara during the funeral ceremonies. Above the 
dull distant roar of the cataract, the minute guns of 
friends and foes pealed over the dead, as with shrouded 
banners the slowly marching column bore him to his 
last resting place. Cannon that but a few hours be- 
fore had been exploding in angry strife on each other, 
now joined their peaceful echoes over his grave. 
Such an act was characteristic of Scott, who fierce 
and fearless in battle, was chivalrous and kind in all 
his feelings. 

While a prisoner in an inn at Niagara, Scott was 
told that some one wished to see the " tall American." 
He immediately passed through into the entry, when 
to his astonishment he saw standing before him two 
savage Indian chiefs, the same who would have killed 
him when he surrendered himself a prisoner of war, 
but for the interposition of a British ofiicer. They 
had come to look on the man at whom they had so 
often fired with a deliberate aim. In broken English, 
and by gestures, they inquired where he was hit, for 
it was impossible that out of fifteen or twenty shots 


not one had taken effect. The elder chief, named 
Jacobs, a tall, powerful savage, grew furious at Scott's 
asserting that not a ball had touched him, and seizing 
his shoulders rudely, turned him round to examine 
his back. The young and fiery Colonel did not like to 
have such freedom taken with his person by a savage, 
and hurling him fiercely aside, exclaimed, " Off, 
villain, you fired like a squaw." " We kill you now," 
was the quick and startling reply, as knives and 
tomahawks gleamed in their hands. Scott was not a 
man to beg or run, though either would have been 
preferable to taking his chances against these armed 
savages. Luckily for him, the swords of the Ameri- 
can officers who had been taken prisoners, were stacked 
under the staircase beside which he was standing. 
Quick as thought he snatched up the largest, a long 
sabre, and the next moment it glittered unsheathed 
above his head. One leap backward, to get scope for 
play, and he stood towering even above the gigantic 
chieftain, who glared in savage hate upon him. The 
Indians were in the wider part of the hall, between 
the foot of the stairs and the door, while Scott stood 
farther in where it was narrower. The former, there- 
fore, could not get in the rear, and were compelled to 
face their enemy. They manoeuvred to close, but at 
every turn that sabre flashed in their eyes. The 
moment they came to blows, one, they knew, was 
sure to die, and although it was equally certain that 


Scott would fall under the knife of the survivor before 
he could regain his position, yet neither Indian 
seemed anxious to be the sacrifice. While they thus 
stood watching each other, a British officer chanced 
to enter, and on beholding the terrific tableaux, cried 
out at the top of his voice, " The guard," and at the 
same instant seized the tallest chief by the arm and 
presented a cocked pistol to his head. The next 
moment the blade of Scott quivered over the head of 
tlie other savage, to protect his deliverer. In a few 
seconds the guards entered with levelled bayonets, 
and the two chieftains were secured. One of them 
was the son of Brant, of revolutionary notoriety. 

The prisoners were all taken to Quebec, whence 
they were sent in a cartel to Boston. As they were 
about to sail, Scott, who was in the cabin of the 
transport, healing a noise on deck, went up to ascer- 
tain the cause, and found that British officers were 
separating the Irishmen, to exclude them from mercy 
due to the other prisoners, and to have them taken to 
England and tried for treason. Twenty -three had thus 
been set apart when Scott arrived. Indignant at this 
outrage, he peremptorily ordered the rest of the men 
to keep silent and not answer a question of any kind, 
BO that neither by their replies or voice they could 
give any evidence of the place of their birth. He then 
turned to the doomed twenty-three, and denounced 
the act of the officers, and swore most solemnly that 


if a hair of their heads was touched, he would avenge 
it, even if he was compelled to refuse quarter in 
battle. The officers interrupted him again and again, 
and fiercely ordered him below. Boiling with rage, 
Scott indignantly refused to obey, high words and 
threats followed, but, though unarmed, he boldly 
maintained his ground. 

Soon after he reached Boston, he was sent to 
"Washington, and in a short time was exchanged. 
He then drew up a report of the whole affair to the 
Secretary of War, and it was presented the same day 
to Congress. The result was the passage of an act of 
retaliation (March 3d, 1813). Scott never lost sight 
of these unfortunate Irishmen, and at the capture of 
Fort George, in the latter part of May, having taken 
many prisoners, he selected out twenty-three as host- 
ages, to receive the same punishment which should 
be meeted out to his brave soldiers. This led to 
similar acts on the part of the -English in return, 
which caused much unnecessary suffering. Scott's 
decision, however, saved his Irish troops. Two years 
after, as he was passing along the East River in I^ew 
York, he heard loud cheers on one of the piers, and 
turning his footsteps thither, found they proceeded 
from those very soldiers, just landed after a long im- 
prisonment. They quickly recognized their old com- 
mander and friend, and crowded around him with 
enthusiasm and clamorous gratitude, nearly crushing 


the still weak and wounded General in their arms. 
He immediately wrote to Washington, claiming in 
their behalf full pay, and soliciting patents for laud 
bounties. Both were granted, and twenty-one out of 
the twenty-three lived to praise their benefactor in 
their adopted country. 

This love for his soldiers, care for their welfare, and 
rage at any neglect of their wants and rights, and 
stern determination to redress them, has always cha- 
racterized General Scott through his long military 
career, ll^oble and magnanimous himself, he will not 
allow those under his protection to be treated with 

The campaign of 1813 opened with the capture of 
York. Soon after Scott joined the army at Fort 
Niagara as adjutant-general to Gen. Dearborn. But 
though chief of the staff, he claimed the right to 
command his own regiment in battle. 

Tlie capture of York encouraged Gen. Dearborn 
to attack Forts George and Erie. Commodore Chaun- 
cey having at this time complete command of the 
lake, men and artillery could be easily transported 
across, and the vessels used to cover the landing 
of the troops and co-operate in any attack that 
might be made. Gen. Dearborn at the head of four 
or live thousand men, embarked on board the vessels 
and boats on the morning of the 26th of May. At 
three o'clock the following morning the signal was 


given to weigh, and the little fleet moved silently 
toward the opposite shore. Col. Scott volunteered 
to lead the advance guard of five hundred men. 
Tliese were the flower of the armj, and when Gen. 
Dearborn placed them under his command he knew 
that no common obstacle would arrest their charge. 
Col. Moses Porter, with the field train, was close be- 
hind, followed by the brigades of Gens. Boyd, 
Sheridan, Chandler, and a reserve under Col, C. 
Macomb. Captain Perry volunteered to accompany 
Scott, and superintend the embarkation of the troops. 
In the mean time. Commodore Chauncey had 
anchored his vessels close in shore, and before nine 
o'clock the guns of the Governor Tompkins had 
silenced the fort, and Scott, with his fleet of boats, 
swept swiftly towards the shore. As they drew near 
they were met by volleys of musketry that sent the 
spray in a shower about them, but with loud cheers 
they pressed forward. They knew the army was 
watching them with the deepest anxiety, and each 
emulating his comrade, and all filled with the spirit 
that animated their gallant young leader, could 
scarcely wait for the boats to reach the land, and 
many leaped over and waded to the shore. Hav- 
ing reached the beach, Scott drew up his little 
band under cover of the bank that rose eight 
or ten feet over their heads ; from the top of which 
bristled some fifteen hundred bayonets. Undaunted 


by this formidable array and tlie bank that opposed 
his progress, Scott ordered the charge. Tlie men, 
with loud cheers, sprang up the steep ascent, but 
when near the summit were met with such overpow- 
ering force that they were hurled back. Gen. 
Dearborn standing on the deck of Chauncey's ship, 
and watching through his glass the result of the 
charge, saw the tall form of Scott fall backward 
down the bank upon the beach. Bursting into tears, 
he exclaimed, " He is lost, he is killed !" Tlie next 
moment, however, Scott sprang to his feet, and 
cheering on his men, led them again to the charge. 
Knocking up the bayonets as they clambered to the 
feet of their foes, they steadily pushed them back, 
and stood at last on the summit. Their shout of 
triumph was echoed from the boats below and from 
the ships in the distance. Scott having dressed his 
line, ordered the charge, and closing fiercely and at 
once with the enemy, drove them, after a sharp ac- 
tion of twenty minutes, in every direction before 
him. Some fled to the woods pursued by Forsythe, 
who had effected a landing, wdiile others took refuge 
in the fort. This was immediately abandoned, but 
not till the trains and magazines had been fired. 
Scott was at this time opposite the fort, and im- 
mediately wheeled two companies from the head of 
his column to arrest the flames. "When within 
about eighty yards, one of the smaller magazines 

32 wmriELD scott. 

blew up, sending its fragments in every direction 
A piece of flying timber struck Scott and hurled 
him from his horse. Though much hurt, he pressed 
on with his men — ordered the gates to be forced, 
and was the first to enter. Capts. Hindman and 
Stockton snatched away the matches which had been 
applied to two other magazines, and the works were 
saved. Col. Porter who commanded the field artil- 
lery, had eifected a landing directly in rear of Scott, 
and coming to his assistance at the close of the bat- 
tle, followed close on his heels in pursuit of the 
enemy. When the fonner turned to enter the fort, 
the gallant colonel rushed after, to be the first to 
pull down the British flag. But finding Scott ahead 
of him, he exclaimed, " Confound your long legs, 
Scott, you have got in before me." ISTo sooner had 
the latter lowered the English colors, than he again 
put himself at the head of his column, in swift pur- 
suit of the fugitives. Disregarding the order to halt, 
he pressed forward five miles, when he was arrested 
by General Boyd in person. This ended the battle. 
Tlie loss on both sides is differently stated. Gen. 
Dearborn in his report makes it on our side but 
seventeen killed and forty-five wounded, while that 
of the British was ninety killed, sixty wounded, 
and one hundred prisoners. Among the latter 
was an English colonel, who, the year before, at a 
supper party of British ofiicers where Scott was pre- 

niS MiiGNANmiTY. 33 

sent just after liis capture at Queenstown, asked the 
latter if lie had ever seen JSTiagara Falls. Scott said 
that he had, from the American side. " But you 
must have the glory of a successful fight before you 
can view the cataract in all its grandeur," replied 
the officer m a sarcastic tone. " Sir," retorted Scott, 
if it be your intention to insult me, honor should 
have prompted you first to return me my sword." 

Scott, now the captor, repaid this insult by every 
attention in his power, returned the prisoner his 
horse, supplied all his wants, and finally obtained 
his return to England on parole. The British officer 
humbled at the contrast such conduct presented to 
his own, said to him one day, " I have long owed 
you an apology, sir. You have overwhelmed me 
with kindness. You can now, at your leisure, view 
the Falls in all their glory. 

In July, Scott resigned his post as chief of the 
staff, and received the command of a double regi- 

In the beginning of autumn of this year, the grand 
campaign for the conquest of Canada, under the con- 
trol of Wilkinson, was set in motion. Kingston and 
Montreal were both to be taken, and thus both the 
Canadas fall into the hands of the Americans. In 
the meantime Scott was left in command of Fort 
George, which he instantly set about repairing, and 

soon put in a complete state of defence. The com- 


mander of the Britisli force, stationed near, imitating 
tlie course pursued by other Britisli officers to intimi- 
date the American troops, sent a summons to him to 
surrender, otherwise he should be compelled to storm 
the Port, in which case he would not be responsible 
for the Indians. Scott replied to the messenger — 
" tell your general to come on and storm the Fort, 
I will he respons'ible for the Indians.''^ The enemy, 
however, whom he was left to watch, breaking up 
his camp and following Wilkinson in his passage 
down the lake, he was ordered to join the command- 
ing general with the regular troops under him. He 
expected to have his regiment transported in Com- 
modore Chauncy's vessels down the lake, but Wil- 
kinson refusing to let the fleet be absent several days 
for that purpose, he was compelled to start on foot 
for Sackett's Harbour, and march by way of the 
Genessee river, Canandagua, and Utica. Heavy 
rains had made the roads intolerable, and the slow 
and wearisome march did not keep pace with his 
anxiety to join the army of invasion. Meeting the 
Secretary of War, not far from Utica, he obtained 
permission to reach it on the St. Lawrence, where- 
ever he could. Resigning his command to Major 
Hindman, he pushed on through storm and mud, 
and finally overtook General Wilkinson at Ogdens- 
burg. He immediately received the command of a 


clioice battalion, under Colonel Macomb, and led 
the advance guard down the St. Lawrence. 

It is unnecessary to chronicle the feeble and in- 
efficient conduct of Wilkinson, or the memorable 
fight at Chrysler's farms. Scott as leader of the ad- 
vance guard, had several skirmishes with the enemy, 
but nothing of importance occurred, and on the 12th 
of November, this grand army of invasion was 
ordered to retreat before a shadow and abandon its 

The ostensible reason, the refusal of Hampton to 
join him with his division as agreed upon, was not 
sufficient to justify Wilkinson's conduct. Had Scott 
been placed over that army, the American flag in a 
few days would have waved above Montreal. 


Scott Superintends the Camp of Instruction at Buffalo— Drills the Army— Crosses 
the Niagara— Pursues the Marquis of Tweesdale behind the Chippewa— Battle of 
Chippewa— Company of Backwoodsmen— Battle of Niagara— Charge of Miller- 
Scott's Wound, and Last Orders— Journey to Washington— Reception at 
Princeton— Black Hawk War— Scott amid the Cholera— Is Challenged by Jack- 
son-Becomes interested in the cause of Temperance — Takes Command in South 
Carolina, to Crush the Disunionists— Settles the difficulties on the Northern 
Frontier — Pursues the Cherokees. 

The army went into winter quarters, and Scott 
was sent to Albany to beat up recruits. In the 
spring, tbough only twenty-eight years old, he was 
promoted to the rank of brigadier-general, and 
ordered to Buffalo, under General Brown, who soon 
after left him there to superintend the camp of in- 
struction. Like the revolutionary war, the tide of re- 
verses was not fairly to turn until discipline was in- 
troduced into the army. The troops under him, at 
this time were his own, Hipley's brigade of the 
regular anny, and Porter's of the militia, together 
with Hindman's battalion of artillery. For more 
than three months, Scott subjected these immortal 


brigades to the severest discipline. The system of 
tactics in use had been handed down from the Revolu- 
tion, and was not fit for the improved mode of warfare. 
Scott here for the first time introduced the French 
system. He first drilled the ofiicers, and they in 
turn the men. So severe and constant was this drill 
that in the short space of three months these regular 
brigades became intelligent, steady and invincible 
as old veterans. 

General Brown having returned from Sackett's 
Harbor in the latter part of June, he immediately 
began to prepare for an invasion of the Canadas. 
The 3d of July the army crossed the Niagara river 
and took Fort Erie without a struggle. The main 
British army, under General Eiall, lay at Chippewa, 
towards which Scott pressed with his brigade, chas- 
ing the Marquis of Tweesdale for sixteen miles, who 
said he could not account for the ardor of the pm*- 
suit until he remembered it was the 4th of July, 
our great anniversary. At dark the Marquis crossed 
the Chippewa, behind which lay the British army. 
This river enters the Niagara nearly at right angles. 
Two miles farther up. Street's Creek joins the Nia- 
gara also, and behind it Gen. Brown drew up the 
American forces. This two miles of interval be- 
tween the streams was an open plain, skirted on 
one side by the Niagara river and on the other by 
a forest. 


Such was the state of aifairs on the morning of the 
5th, when Gen. Brown determined to advance and 
attack the British in their position. The latter had 
determined on a similar movement against the 
Americans, and unbeknown to each other, the one 
prepared to cross the bridge of Chippewa, and the 
other that of Street's Creek. 

The battle commenced in the woods on the left, 
and an irregular fight was ke]3t up for a long time 
between Porter's brigade and the Canadian militia 
stationed there. The latter were at length driven 
back to the Chippewa, when General Kiall advanced 
to their support. Before this formidable array, the 
American militia, notwithstanding the noble efforts 
of General Porter to steady their courage, broke 
and fled. General Brown immediately hastened to 
the scene, merely saying to Scott as he passed on, 
" The enemy is advancing, you will have a fight." 
The latter ignorant of the forward movement of 
Piall, had just put his brigade in marching order to 
cross the creek for a drill on the open plain be- 
yond. But as the head of the column reached the 
bank, he saw the British army drawn up in beau- 
tiful array in the open field, while a battery of 
nine pieces stood in point blank range of the 
bridge over which he was to cross. Swiftly yet 
beautifully the corps of Scott swept over the bridge 
and deployed imder the steady fire of the battery. 


The iirst and second battalions under Majors Lea- 
venworth and McNeil, took position in front of the 
left and centre of the enemy, while the third, under 
Jessup, obliqued to the left to attack their right, 
stationed in the woods, and which threatened to 
outflank the American line. It was a bright, hot 
July afternoon, the dusty plain presented no obsta- 
cle behind which either party could find shelter, and 
the march of the steady battalions over its surface 
led on by bands of music, presented one of those 
stirring scenes which makes man forget the carnage 
that is to follow. The heavy monotonous thunder 
of Niagara rolled on over the discharges of artillery, 
while its clouds of spray rising from the strife of 
waters, and glittering in the su.nbeams, contrasted 
strangely with the sulphurous clouds that heaved 
heavenward from the conflict of men beneath. 

Both armies halting, firing, and advancing in turn, 
continued to approach until they stood within eighty 
yards of each other. Scott who had been manceu- 
vering to get the two battalions of Leavenworth and 
M'Neil in an oblique position to the British line — 
the great object in an open attack- — at length suc- 
ceeded, the two farther extremities being nearest the 
enemy. Thus the American army stood like an 
obtuse triangle of which the British line formed the 
base. While in this position Scott wishing to pass 
from one extremity to the other and being in too 


great a hurry to go back of liis lines around the tri 
angle, cut directly across it, taking tlie cross fire of 
both armies, as he spurred in a fierce gallop through 
the smoke. A loud cheer rolled along the Ameri- 
can lines as they saw this daring act of their com- 
mander. Riding up to Towson's battery, he cried 
out, " a little more to the left, captain, the enemy is 
there." This gallant officer was standing amid his 
guns, and enveloped in smoke had not observed that 
the British had advanced so far that his fire fell be- 
hind them. Instantly discovering his mistake, he 
changed the direction of his two remaining pieces 
and poured a raking, destructive fire through the 
enemy's ranks, blowing up an ammunition wagon, 
which spread destruction on every side. At this 
critical moment, Scott rode up to M'Neil's battalion, 
his face blazing with excitement, and shouted, " The 
enemy say that we are good at long shot but cannot 
stand the cold iron. I call upon the Eleventh in- 
stantly to give the lie to that slander^ Charge.''^ 
Just as the order " charge," escaped his lips, came 
that destructive fire from Towson's battery. The 
thunder of those guns at that critical moment, was, 
to Scott's young and excited heart like the shout of 
victory, and rising in his stirrups and swinging his 
sword aloft, he cried, " Charge, charge the rascals." 
With a high and ringing cheer, that gallant batta- 


lion moved witli leveled bayonets on the foe. Tak- 
ing the close and deadly volleys without shrinking, 
its torn and shattered front never for a moment los- 
ing its firm formation, it struck the British line ob- 
liquely, crumbling it to pieces, as it swept on with 
resistless power. 

Leavenworth did the same on the right with the 
same success, while Jessup in the woods, ignorant 
how the battle was going in the plain, but finding 
himself outflanked, ordered his troops " to support 
arms and advance." They cheerfully obeyed and 
in the face of a most deadly fire charged home on 
the enemy, and obtaining a better position poured 
in his volleys with tremendous effect. From the 
moment these charges commenced, till the enemy 
fled, the field presented a frightful spectacle. 
The two armies were in such close proximity, and 
the volleys were so incessant and destructive, and 
the uproar so terrific that orders could no longer be 
heard. But through his two aids Lieutenants Worth 
and Watts, who galloped to and fro and by their 
presence and gestures transmitted his orders in the 
midst of the hottest fire, Scott caused every move- 
ment to be executed with precision, and not an error 
svas committed from first to last. 

The enemy driven over the Chippewa, tore up 
the bridge and retired to his encampment. 


The sun went down in blood and the loud requiem 
of Niagara which had been drowned in the roar of 
battle, sounded on as before over the gallant dead, 
while the moans of the wounded ; loaded the air of 
the calm summer evening. 

Nearly eight hundred killed and wounded, had 
been stretched on the earth in that short battle, out of 
some four thousand, or one-fifth of all engaged.* A 
bloodier battle was scarce ever fought. The British 
having been taught to believe that the American 
troops would give way in an open fight, and that 
the resort to the bayonet was always the signal of 
victory to them, could not be made to yield, until they 
were literally crushed under the headlong charge of 
the Americans. 

Gen. Brown, when he found that Scott had the 
whole British army on his hands, hurried back to 
bring up Ripley's brigade ; but Scott's evolutions and 
advance had been so rapid, and his blow so sudden 
and deadly, that the field was swept before he could 

M'Neil's battalion had not a recruit in it, and Scott 
knew when he called on them to give the lie to the 
slander, that American troops could not stand the 

* The British were 2100 strong. American troops actually engaged, 

British killed 138. Wounded and missing 365. Americans killed 
68. Wounded and missing 267. 


cold steel, that tliey would do it though every man 
perished in his footsteps. 

Maj. Leavenworth's battalion, however, embraced 
a few volunteers, aivd among them a company of 
backwoodsmen, who joined the army at Buffalo a few 
days before it was to cross the Niagara. 

An incident illustratine; their character, was told 
the writer's father by Maj. Gen. Leavenworth himself. 
Although a battle M^as expected in a few days, the 
Major resolved in the meantime to drill these men. 
Having ordered them out for that purpose, he en- 
deavored to apply the manual ; but to his surprise, 
found that they were ignorant of the most common 
terms familiar even to untrained militia. While 
thus puzzled with their awkardness, Scott rode on the 
field, and in a sharp voice asked Maj. Leavenworth 
if he could not manage those soldiers better. The 
Major lifting his chapeau to the General, replied, that 
he wished the General would try them himself. The 
latter rode forward and issued his commands — but the 
backwoodsmen instead of obeying him, were ignorant 
even of the military terms he used. After a few mo- 
ment's trial, he saw it was a hopeless task and touch- 
ing his chapeau in return to Leavenworth, said, 
" Major, I leave you your men," and rode off the fiela. 
The latter finding that all attempts at drill during 
the short interval that must elapse before a battle 
occurred, would be useless; ordered them to tneir 


quarters. On the day of the battle he placed them at 
one extremity of the line where he thought they 
would interfere the least with the manoeuvres of the 
rest of the battalion. He said that during the 
engagement, this company occurred to him, and he 
rode the whole length of his line to see what they 
were about. They were where he had placed them, 
captain and all, obeying no orders, except the orders 
to advance. Their ranks were open and out of all 
line ; but the soldiers were cool and collected as 
veterans. They had thrown away their hats and 
coats, and besmeared with powder and smoke were 
loading and firing, each on his own hook. They paid 
no attention to the order to fire, having no idea of 
" shooting " till they had good aim. The thought of 
running had evidently never crossed their minds. 
Fearless of danger and accustomed to pick off 
squirrels from the tops of the loftiest trees with their 
rifle-balls, they were quietly doing what they were 
put there to perform, viz., kill men, and Maj. Leav- 
enworth said there was the most deadly work in the 
whole line. Men fell like grass before the scythe. 
Not a shot was thrown away — ten men were equal to 
a hundred firing in the ordinary way. 

The American army rested but two days after the 
battle, and then advanced over the Chippewa, 
Scott's brigade leading. The British retreated to 
Burlington Heights, near the head of Lake Ontario 


Thither Brown resolved to follow them. IJut on the 
25th, while the army was resting, preparatory to the 
next day's battle, word was hronght that a thousand 
troops had crossed the river to Lewiston, for the pur- 
pose, evidently, of seizing our magazines at Fort 
Schlosser, and the supplies, on the way to the 
American camp, from Buffalo. In order to force 
them to return, Brown resolved immediately to 
threaten the forts at the mouth of the Niagara 
river, and in twenty minutes, Scott, with a detach- 
ment of twelve hundred men, was on the march. 
He had proceeded but two miles, when he came in 
sight of some British officers, evidently reconnoiter- 
ing. The force to which they belonged lay behind 
a strip of wood, which prevented him from seeing 
them. Supposing them, however, to be the frag- 
ments of the army he had so terribly shattered at 
Chippewa, he ordered the march to be resumed. 
But as he cleared the road he saw before him an 
army of two thousand men drawn up in order of 
battle. He paused a moment at this unexpected sight, 
and his eye had an anxious look as it ran along his 
little band. To retreat would endanger the reserve 
marching to his relief, and destroy the confidence of 
the troops. Besides, Scott never had, and never has 
since, iQaxnedi. jpractically, what the word " retreat" 
meant. He determined, therefore, hazardous as it 
was, to maintain the unequal contest till the other 


portion of the army arrived. Despatching officers 
to General Bro\vn with directions to ride as for life, 
he gave the orders to advance. The sun, at this 
time, was but half an hour high, and unobscured by 
a cloud, was going to his lordly repose behind the 
forest that stood bathed in his departing splendor. 
Kear by, in full view, rolled the cataract, sending up 
its incense towards heaven, and filling that summer 
evening with its voice of thunder. The spray as it 
floated inland, hovered over the American army, 
and as the departing sunbeams struck it, a rainbow 
was formed, which encircled the head of Scott's 
column like a halo^ — ^a symbol of the wreath of 
glory that should encircle it forever. 

The British, two thousand strong, were posted 
just below the Falls, on a ridge at the head of 
Lundy's Lane. Their left was in the highway, and 
separated from the main body by an interval of two 
hundred yards, covered with brushwood, etc. Gene- 
ral Drummond had landed a short time before with 
reinforcements, which were rapidly marching up to 
the aid of Eiall. Scott, however, would not turn his 
back on the enemy, and gallantly led in person his 
little army into the fire. His bearing and words in 
spired confidence, and officers and men forgot tht, 
odds that were against them. Major Jessup was 
ordered to fiing himself in the interval, between the 
British centre and left, and turn the latter. In the 


meantime, the enemy discovering that he outflanked 
the Americans on the left, advanced a battalion to 
take them in rear. Tlie brave McNeil stopped, 
with one terrible blow, its progress, though his own 
battalion was dreadfully shattered by it. Jessup 
had succeeded in his movement, and having taken 
the enemy in rear, charged back through his line, 
captured the commanding-general Riall, with his 
whole stafi". When this was told to Scott, he an- 
nounced it to his army, and three loud cheers rang 
over the field. A destructive discharge from the 
English battery of seven pieces, followed. It was 
dark, and though there was a moon, its feeble light 
struggled in vain to pierce the smoke that curtained 
in the combatants. The flashes from the bat- 
tery that crowned the heights, and from the in- 
fantry below, alone revealed where they were strug- 
gling. Scott's regiments were soon all reduced to 
skeletons — a fourth of the whole brigade had fallen 
in the unequal conflict. Tlie English battery of 
twenty-four-pounders and howitzers, sent destruction 
through his ranks. He, however, refrised to yield a 
foot of ground, and heading almost every charge in 
person, moved with such gay spirits and reckless 
com*age through the deadliest fire, that the troops 
caught the infection. But the British batteries, 
now augmented to nine guns, made frightful 
havoc in his uncovered brigade. Towson's few 


pieces being necessarily placed so much lower, 
could produce but little eftect, while the enemy's 
twenty-four-pounders, loaded with grape, swept the 
entire field. The eleventh and twenty-second regi- 
ments, deprived of their commanders, and destitute 
of ammunition, were withdrawn, and Leavenworth, 
with the gallant ninth, was compelled to withstand 
the whole shock of battle. This single regiment 
appeared amid the darkness to be enveloped in fire 
• — with such energy and superior numbers, did the 
British press upon it. Its destruction seemed inevi- 
table, and in a short time one half of its number 
lay stretched on the field. Leavenworth sent to 
Scott, informing him of his desperate condition. 
The latter soon came up on a full gallop, when 
Leavenworth pointing to the bleeding fragment of 
his regiment, said, " Your rule for retreating is ful- 
filled," referring to Scott's maxim that a regiment 
might retreat when every third man was killed. 
Scott, however, answered buoyantly, cheered up the 
men and ofiicers by promising victory — ^pointed to 
the flag that still waved in the dim moonlight, and 
though bleeding from a wound, spurred where the 
balls fell thickest, and animated them by his daring 
courage and chivalric bearing to still greater efforts. 
Still he could not but see that his case was desperate, 
and unless aid arrived soon, he must retreat. Only 


five or six hundred of the twelve liuudred lie at sun- 
down liad led into battle, remained to him. 

General Brown, liowever, was hurrying to the 
rescue. The incessant cannonading convinced him 
that Scott had a heavy force on his hands ; and with- 
out waiting the arrival of a messenger, he ordered 
Ripley to move forward with the second brigade. 
Meeting Scott's despatch on the way, he learned how 
desperate the battle was, and immediately ordered 
Porter with the volunteers to hurry on after Eipley, 
while he, in advance of all, hastened to the field of 
action. The constant and heavy explosions of artil- 
lery, rising over tlie roar of the cataract, announced 
to the excited soldiers the danger of their comrades ; 
and no sooner were they wheeled into marching order 
than they started on a trot along the road. Lieutenant 
Kiddle, who was off on a scouring expedition in the 
country, paused as he heard the thunder of cannon, 
and waiting for no despatch, gave orders to march, 
and his men moving at the charge de pas, soon came 
with shouts on the field. At length the head of 
Ripley's column emerged through the gloom, sending 
joy through those gallant regiments, and aloud huzza 
rolled along their line. Brown, seeing that Scott's 
brigade was exhausted, ordered Ripley to form in ad- 
vance of it. In the mean time, Druramond had 
arrived on the field with reinforcements, swelling the 
English army to four thousand men. At this moment 


there was a lull in the battle, and both armies pre- 
pared for a decisive blow. It was evident the deadly 
battery on the heights must be carried, or the field 
be lost, and Brown, turning to Colonel Miller, asked 
him if he could take it. " I will try, sir," was the 
brief reply of the fearless soldier, as he coolly scanned 
the frowning heights. Placing himself at the head 
of the 21st regiment, he prepared to ascend the hill. 
Major M'Farland with the 23d was to support him. 
Not having arrived on the field till after dark, he was 
ignorant of the formation of the ground or the best 
point from which to commence the ascent. Scott, 
who had fought over almost every foot of it since sun- 
set, offered to pilot him. Passing by an old church 
and grave-yard, that showed dimly in the moonlight, 
he took the column to the proper place, and then re- 
turned to his post. In close order and dead silence 
the two regiments then moved straight for the battery. 
It was only by their heavy muffled tread that General 
Drummond detected their approach. In an instant 
that battery of nine guns opened with terrific effect. 
The Twenty-third staggered under the discharge, but 
soon rallied and pressed forward ; smitten again, it 
reeled backward in the gloom ; but the Twenty-first 
never faltered, " Close up, steady, men," rung from 
the lips of their leader, and taking the loads of grape- 
shot unshrinkingly into their bosoms, they marched 
sternly on, their bayonets gleaming red in the fire 


that rolled in streams down the slope. Every explo- 
sion revealed the whole hill and that dark column 
winding through flame and smoke up its sides. At 
length it came within range of musketry, when the 
carnage became awful ; but still on through the sheets 
of flame, over their dead comrades, this invincible 
regiment held its stubborn course towards the very 
vortex of the battle. The English gazed with amaze- 
ment on its steady advance. 'No hesitation marked 
its movement ; closing up its ranks after every dis- 
charge, it kept on its terrible way, till at last it stood 
face to face with the murderous battery, and within a 
few steps of the gunners. A sudden flash, a deafen- 
ing explosion, and then " Close tip, steady, charge,''^ 
rung out from the sulphurous cloud that rolled over 
the shattered regiment, and the next instant it swept 
with a thrilling shout over guns, gunners, and all. 
The struggle became at once close and fierce, — 
bayonet crossed bayonet, — weapon clashed against 
weapon, — but nothing could resist that determined 
onset. The British were driven down the hill, and 
the remnants of that gallant regiment, together with 
M'Farland's, which had again rallied, formed between 
the guns and the foe. Ripley then moved his brigade 
to the top of the hill, in order to keep what had been 
so heroically won. Stung with rage and mortification 
at this unexpected defeat, Drummond resolved to 
retake that height and his guns, cost what it might ; 


and soon the tread of his advancing columns waa 
heard ascending the slope. Shrouded in darkness, 
thej came on at the charge step, and in dead silence, 
until within twenty yards of the American line, when 
they halted and delivered their fire. " Charge" then 
ran along the line, but the order had scarcely pealed 
on the night air before they were shattered and torn 
into fragments by the sudden and destructive volley 
of the Americans. Rallying, however, they returned 
to the attack, and for twenty minutes the conflict 
around those guns was indescribably awful and mur- 
derous. No sounds of music drowned the death-cry ; 
the struggle was too close and fatal. There were only 
the fierce tramp and the clash of steel, — the stifled 
cry and wavering to and fro of men in a death-grapple. 
At length the British broke, and disappeared in the 
darkness. General E-ipley again formed his line, 
while Scott, who had succeeded in getting a single 
battalion out of the fragments of his whole brigade, 
was ordered to the top of the hill. 

In about half an hour the sound of the returning 
enemy was again heard. Smote by the same fierce 
fire, Drummond with a desperate efibrt threw his 
entire strength on the centre of the American line. 
But there stood the gallant Tw^enty-First, whose re- 
sistless charge had first swept the hill ; and where 
they had conquered they could not yield. Scott in 
the mean time led his column so as to take the 


enemy in flank and rear, and bnt for a sudden volley 
from a concealed body of the enemy, cutting liis com- 
mand in two, would have finished the battle with a 
blow. As it was he charged again and again, with 
resistless energy, and the disordered ranks of the foe 
for the third time rolled back and were lost in the 
gloom. Here his last horse fell under him, and he 
moved on foot amid his battalion. Jessup was also 
severely wounded, yet there he stood amid the 
darkness and carnage, cheering on his men. The 
soldiers vied with the officers in heroic darina: and 
patient suffering. Many would call out for muskets 
as they had none, or for cartridges as theirs were all 
gone. On every side from j^allid lips and prostrate 
bleeding forms came the reply, " take mine, and 
mine, my gun is in good order, and my cartridge 
box is full." There was scarcely an oflicer at this time 
unwounded ; yet, one and all refused to yield the 
command while they could keep their feet. 

Jessup's flag was riddled with balls, and as a 
sergeant waved it amid a storm of bullets, the staff 
was severed in three places in his hand. Turning 
to his commander he exclaimed as he took up the 
fragments, " Look, colonel, how they have cut us." 
Tlie next moment a ball passed through his body. — ■ 
But he still kept his feet, and still waved his muti- 
lated standard, until faint with loss of blood he simk 
on the field. 


After being driven the third time down the hill, 
the enemy for a while ceased their efforts, and sud- 
den silence fell on the two armies, broken only by 
the groans of the wounded and dying. The scene, 
and the hour, combined to render that hill-top a 
strange and fearful object in the darkness. On one 
side lay a wilder/iess, on the other rolled the cataract, 
whose solemn anthem could again be heard pealing 
on through the gloom. Leaning on their heated 
guns, that gallant band stood bleeding amid the 
wreck it had made. It was midnight — the stars 
looked quietly down from their homes in the sky — • 
the summer wind swept softly by, and nature was 
breathing long and peacefully. But all over that 
hill lay the brave dead, and adown its sides in every 
direction the blood of men was rippling. Still not 
a heart beat faint. I^othing but skeletons of regi- 
ments remained, yet calm and stern were the words 
spoken there in the darkness. " Close wp the TanTcs^'* 
were the heroic orders that still fell on the shattered 
battalions, and they closed with the same firm pre- 
sence and dauntless hearts as before. 

It was thought that the British would make no 
further attempts to recover their guns, but reinforce- 
ments having arrived from Fort George, they, after 
an hour's repose and refreshment, prepared for a 
final assault. Our troops had all this time stood to 
their arms, and famt with hunger, thirst, and fatigue, 


seemed unequal to a third conflict against a fresh 
force. But as tliey lieard the enemy advancing, 
they forget their weariness and met the onset firmly 
as before. But this time the ranks of the enemy 
did not yield under the fire that smote them, they 
pressed steadily forward, and delivering their volleys 
as they advanced, at length stood on the summit of 
the hill, and breast to breast with the American line. 
The confiict now became fearful and more like the 
murderous hand-to-hand fights of old than a modern 
battle. Battalions on both sides were forced back 
till the ranks became mingled. Bayonet crossed 
bayonet and men lay transfixed side by side. Hind- 
man whose artillery had done great service from the 
first, found the enemy amid his guns, across which 
he was compelled to fight them. 

Tlie firing gave way to the clash of steel, the blaz- 
ing hill-top subsided into gloom, out of which the 
sound of this nocturnal combat arose in strange and 
wild confusion. 

Scott charging like fire at the head of his exhausted 
battalion, received another severe wound which pros- 
trated him — but his last words to Leavenworth, as he 
was borne to the rear, were " charge againr " Charge 
again, Leavenworth," were his last orders as he was 
carried apparently dying from that fierce foughten 
field. General Brown supported on his horse, was 
slowly led away. Jessup was bleeding from several 

56 WmriELD SCOTT. 

wounds, every regia ental officer in Scott's brigade was 
killed or wounded. Only one out of every four stood 
wp unhurt. The annals of war rarely reveal such a 
slaughter in a single brigade, but it is rarer still a 
brigade has such a leader. The ghosts of regiments 
alone remained, yet before these the veterans of 
England were at last compelled to flee, and betake 
themselves to the darkness for safety. Sullen, mor- 
tified, and badly wounded, Drummond was carried 
from the field, and all farther attempts to take the 
hill were abandoned. Tlie Americans, however, 
kept watch and ward, around the cannon that had 
cost them so great a sacrifice, till near day-break, 
when orders were received to retire to camp. IsTo 
water could be obtained on the heights, and the 
troops wanted re]30se. Through the want of drag- 
ropes and horses, the cannon were left behind. This 
was a sad drawback to the victory, and Major Rip- 
ley should have detailed some men to have taken 
them at least down the hill. Trophies won with the 
blood of so many brave men were worth more effort 
than he put forth to secure them. 

A bloodier battle, in proportion to the numbers 
engaged, was never fought than this. ISTearly eight 
hundred Americans, and as many English, had fal- 
len on and around that single hill. It was loaded 
with the slain. Seventy-six officers were either 
killed or wounded out of our army of some three 


thousand -men, and not a general on either side re- 
mained unwounded. 

Among the slain was young Captain Hull, son of 
the general who had so shamefully capitulated at 
Detroit. This young officer, who had fought one 
duel in defence of his father's honor, and struggled 
in vain to shake off the sense of disgrace that clung 
to him, told a friend at the opening of the battle, 
that he had resolved to fling away a life which had 
become insupportable. Where the battle was hot- 
test, there his sword was seen waving his company 
on. Tor a long time he seemed to bear a charmed 
life, and the more he wooed death, the more she 
avoided him. But when the conflict was done, he 
was found stark and stift' where the dead lay 

It would be impossible to relate all the deeds of 
daring and gallantry which distinguished this bloody 
engagement. Almost every man was a hero, and 
from that hour England felt a respect for our arms 
she never before entertained. Tlie navy had estab- 
lished its reputation forever, and now the army chal- 
lenged the respect of the world. The timorous and 
the ignorant had been swept away with the old 
martinets, and the true genius of the country was 
shining forth in her men, who, while they 
did not despise the past, took lessons of the present. 

Scott at this time, but twenty-eight years of age, 


liad shown to tlie countiy what a single youth, fired 
with patriotism, confident in his resources, and dar- 
ing in spirit, could accomplish. His brigade, it is 
true, had been almost annihilated, and nothing ap- 
parently been gained, but those err much who gra- 
duate the results of a battle by the number taken 
prisoners or the territory acquired. Moral power is 
always more valuable than physical, and though we 
are forever demanding something tangible to show 
as the reward of such a great effort and sacrifice, 
yet to gain a national position is more important 
than to take an army. Thus while many think 
that the battle of Niagara tliough gallantly fought, 
was a barren one, and furnished no compensation 
for the terrible slaughter that characterised it, yet 
there has been none since that of Bunker Hill, 
more important to this country, and which, directly 
and indirectly, has more affected its interests. It 
probably saved more battles than if, by stratagem 
or superior force, General Brown had succeeded in 
capturing Drummond's entire army. 

Brown and Scott both being disabled, the com- 
mand devolved on Major Ripley, who retreated to 
Fort Erie, w^here General Gaines soon after arrived, 
and relieved him. Scott's last wound was a severe 
one. A musket ball had shattered his shoulder 
dreadfully, and a long time it was extremely doubt- 
ful whether he ever recovered. He suffered excru- 


elating pain from it, and it was September before 
he ventured to travel, and then slowly and with great 
care. His progress was a constant ovation. The 
young and wounded chieftain was hailed on his pas- 
sage with salvos of artillery, and shouts of freemen. 
He arrived at Princeton on commencement day of 
Kassau Hall. The professors immediately sent a 
delegation requesting his attendance at the church. 
Leaning on the arm of his gallant aid-de-camp, 
Worth — his arm in a sling, and his countenance 
haggard and worn from his long suffering and con- 
finement, the tall young warrior slowly moved up 
the aisle, and with great difficulty ascended the steps 
to the stage. At first sight of the invalid, looking 
so unlike the dashing, fearless commander, a mur- 
mur of sympathy ran through the house, the next 
moment there went up a shout that shook the build- 
ing to its foundations. A flush passed over the pal- 
lid features — the eye kindled, and the enthusiastic 
young soldier received in that moment the reward 
which springs from the consciousness of having ob- 
tained a place in the heart of his country. 

He was complimented with the honorary degree 
of Master of Arts. Passing on to Baltimore, then 
threatened with an attack by the British, he finally 
so far recovered as to take command in the middle 
of October of the tenth military district, and estab- 
lished his headquarters at Washington City. Here, 


and at Baltimore, he passed the winter. The treaty 
of peace having been received in February, he was 
offered the place of Secretary of "War, but declined 
on the ground of his youth. He then was asked to 
serve as Secretary, till Mr, Crawford, our Minister at 
Paris, could return, who was designated to fill the 
place. This he also declined out of respect to 
Generals Brown and Jackson, his seniors, as the 
Secretary, under the President, has the control of 
the army. 

Having assisted in reducing the army to the 
peace establishment, he was sent to Europe by the 
Government, for the double purpose of restoring his 
health, and the perfecting himself in military 
science. He was also entrusted with certain diplo- 
matic power, and was instructed to ascertain the 
views entertained by the European Courts of the 
revolutionary movements in the Spanish possessions 
iji this country, and also the designs of England on 
Cuba. He received letters of introduction from 
Kosciusko to Marshals McDonald Oudinot and Du- 
pont, who had been the props of E'apoleon through 
his Ions- and wondrous career. The battle of Water- 
loo had just been fought, and the greatest military 
captain of modern times was a homeless fugitive. 
Fresh from the battle-fields of his own country, 
young Scott trod those equally fresh and greater 
ones of Europe with strange feelings. Just at the 


point where lie would devour all military informa- 
tion witli the greatest avidity, he was in the midst 
of scenes, and men, and distinguished officers, who 
were best qualified to impart it. Europe was filled 
with nothing but Bonaparte and his campaigns, 
and it was not strange that under these circum- 
stances, and this tuition, he should learn fast. He 
trod the great battle-fields of the Continent with a 
keen and inquiring spirit, and laid up treasures of 
knowledge, which afterwards served him well, and 
raised him and the nation from defeat and disgrace. 
He also attended public lectures on the subject of 
military art. He returned in 1816, and was given 
the command of the sea-board. In March of the 
next year, = he married Maria Mayo, daughter of 
John Mayo, of Kichmond, Yirginia, a lady of rare 
endowments and accomplishments. He took up his 
residence at Elizabethtown, which continued to be 
his home for the next twenty years. Honors were 
showered on him, swords presented him by the 
States of Virginia and Kew York, and medals 
struck to show the estimation placed on hia services 
by the republic. 

At this time, a misunderstanding occurred be- 
tween him and General Jackson, growing out of an 
order of the latter to his division, forbidding the 
execution of commands of the department un^'ess 
transmitted through him. This General Scott in 

62 wiNFiELD sco^rr. 

conversation in E'ew York pronounced wrong and 
mutinous. The conversation was rejDorted to Jack- 
son, and a cliallenge was the consequence. Scott 
defended his opinions, but refused to accept the 
challenge. The hero of Chippewa and Niagara did 
not think it necessary to fight about so small a mat- 
ter, and thus nobly, by his personal example, ex- 
pressed his disapprobation of this barbarous and 
brutal mode of settling dififerences of opinion. 

Several years after, in 1823, Scott being in Wash- 
ington, wrote Jackson a frank and manly letter pre- 
paratory to reconciliation. This was responded to 
in a similar spirit, and this foolish quarrel between 
two heroes amicably settled. 

At this time Scott enlisted warmly in the cause 
of temperance, and wrote several essays on the 

In 1832, he was ordered West, to put an end to the 
Black Hawk war. He embarked with nine hundred 
and fifty men, at Bufialo for Chicago, but before he 
had proceeded far, the Asiatic cholera broke out among 
the troops. The footsteps of this terrible destroyer had 
just been heard on our shores, and consternation and 
dread seized the entire population. Men and women 
fled from his presence, and pale horror sat on every 
countenance. Scott with his staff, and two hundred 
and twenty men were on one boat, and though he 
landed at Chicago only two days after the pestilence 


appeared on board, — yet in that short interval, so 
swift and fearful were its ravages, that fifty-two had 
died, and eighty were sick. The well were immedi- 
ately sent forward, but this invisible foe marched 
in their midst. Men sunk and died in groups under 
the trees, and their bodies were left unburied. The 
inhabitants fled from the presence of the sick, who 
were strewn along the road. In a short time, out of 
the nine hundred and fifty, only four hundred remained 
alive. Scott, though ill himself, remained at Chicago 
for some time to attend to the wretched suflerers that 
each of the four steamboats had disgorged in that port. 
Apparently forgetful of his own danger, he moved 
amid this terrible scourge, calm and fearless as he 
had done over the field of battle. He visited every 
sick room, bent over every dying soldier, and inhal- 
ing at every step the poisonous atmosphere, nobly 
strove to allay the panic of officers and the terror of the 
men. This fatherly care of his soldiers has always 
endeared him to the army, for he shares with them 
every privation. 

As soon as he could get away he followed the track 
of his decimated army and hastened to join Gen. 
Atkinson at Prairie du Chien. He arrived the day 
after the battle of Bad Axe, which prostrated the 
po.wer of Black Hawk, and ended the war. The 
regulars of the army were then established at Kock 
Island, where in the middle of August, the cholera 


broke out, sending terror througa the hearts of 
officers and men. 

Scott immediately devoted himself to the sick, and 
set an example of calm serenity, which evinced the 
true hero, far more than his desperate charges at 
Lundy's Lane. Says an officer an eye-witness of his 
conduct ; " it is well known that the troops in that 
service, suffered severely from the cholera, a disease 
frightful enough from its rapid and fatal effects ; but 
which came among us the more so from the known inex- 
perience of our medical men, and from the general be- 
lief at that time in its contagiousness. Under such 
circumstances, it was clearly the general's duty to give 
the best general directions he could for proper attend- 
ance to the sick, and for preventing the spread of the 
disease. When he had done this, his duty was 
performed and he might have left the rest to his 
medical officers. But such was not his course. He 
thought he had other duties to perform, that his 
personal safety must be disregarded to visit the sick, 
to cheer the well, to encourage the attendants, to set 
an example to all — in a word to save the lives of 
others at the risk of his own. All this he did 
faithfully, and when he could have no other motive 
than that of doing good. Here was no glory to be 
acquired ; here were none of the excitements of t-he 
battle-field ; here was no shame to be avoided or 
disgrace to be feared ; because his general arrangements 


and directions to those whose part it was to battle 
with sickness had satisfied duty. To those who can 
remember the terror which at that time paralyzed 
every heart, this conduct of Scott, while he himself 
was suffering under the symptoms of disease, will 
stamp him not only the hero of the battle-field, but the 
hero of humanity, and the true heart will encircle his 
brow with a wreath more enduring and sweeter to look 
on than that which victory has woven for his temples. 

The cholera having at length subsided, Scott 
turned his attention to the Indian difiiculties, and at 
length, wath the aid of Governor Keynolds, con- 
cluded satisfactory treaties with the Sacs, Foxes, and 
Winnebagoes. His conduct throughout the whole 
was marked by great ability, and while he secured 
the rights of his government, he won the respect 
and love of the savage chiefs with whom he had 

Soon after his return he was despatched by Gen. 
Jackson w^ith a confidential order to take command 
in South Carolina, to arrest the arm of disunion. 
The quiet and unostentatious manner in which he 
assumed the direction of affairs — the deep solicitude 
he felt for the welfare of the people— his earnest 
anxiety to preserve peace, helped to allay the excite- 
ment, while at the same time his secret disjDositions 
were made with so much skill and despatch, that 
before the disunionists were aware of his purpose, 


the har'bor and defences of Charleston were com- 
pletely in his grasp and their power prostrated. 

In January, 1836, Scott was ordered into Florida, 
to bring to a close the Seminole war which Osceola 
was waging so fiercely against the inhabitants. This 
short campaign was a failure, and Scott was ordered 
home in an extraordinary manner. On his return 
to Washington, he demanded a court-martial, which 
declared that his Seminole campaign was well de- 
vised and well carried out, and that his plans for 
prosecuting the Creek war were also wise, and in a 
fair way of leading to successful results when he was 
recalled. The next year he was ordered to the 
Niagara frontier to allay the excitement occasioned 
by Van Kanselaer's invasion of Canada, and the 
assistance rendered by American citizens to the 
patriots who had revolted from the British govern- 
ment. Enraged to find an American camp on their 
territory, the British resolved in revenge to seize the 
Caroline, a little steamer used as a ferry boat be- 
tween the American shore and Navy Island, on 
which Yan Kanselaer's army lay. A secret expedi- 
tion was fitted out; the Caroline was attacked 
while moored to the American shore, one man on 
board of her killed, and several wounded, and she 
then cut adrift, set on fire, and sent over the Falls. 
The news soon spread, and with it a rumor that 
several American citizens had been sent over the 


falls in her. Great excitement followed ; men flew 
to arms ; threats of retaliation were heard on every 
Bide, and a collision between the two govern- 
ments seemed inevitable. This was the state of 
things when Scott arrived on the scene of his early 
exploits, not to lead his columns to battle, but to act 
as a peacemaker. The winter of 1838-9 was one of 
constant toil to him. From Detroit to Vermont all 
along the line he travelled almost constantly — ^baf- 
fling the efibrts of conspirators — intercepting corres- 
pondence and allaying excitement. He frequently 
addressed the citizens on their duties, proclaiming 
everywhere that he would preserve the neutrality 
of the United States at all hazards. He would 
walk alone into the midst of a band of patriots and 
harangue them on the course they were pursuing, 
and exhort them to return to their obedience. His 
name was written in light on every rood of that 
frontier — the fields of his fame lay in sight, and the 
people loved and honored him despite his deter- 
mined hostility to their wishes. In January, the 
Barcelona, a steamer, was cut out of the ice in Buf- 
falo harbor, and taken down the river to be ofiereJ 
to the patriots in place of the Caroline. Scott hear- 
ing of it, had those in possession of her arrested, 
while at the same time he hired her for the United 
States service before the patriots could find means 
to guarantee the owners against loss. The Brit« 


ish on Grand Island, knowing for what pur- 
pose the Barcelona had been taken down the river, 
and being informed that she was on her way back, 
determined to sink her as she passed. Three armed 
schooners were also lying in wait for her. Scott 
had sent a pacific note to the commander of 
these last, remonstrating against any attack on a 
boat moving in the American waters. On the 
morning of the 16th of January, the smoke of the 
Barcelona was seen in the distance, as the boat 
slowly stemmed the rapid current. Scott saw it, 
and saw too that the vessels kept their position, 
and that on the opj)osite shore cannon were placed 
in battery, so as to sink the steamer the moment 
she came within range. He immediately ordered 
the American batteries in position, the guns loaded, 
and the matches lighted. The shore was lined with 
thousands anxiously awaiting the moment that 
would probably decide the question of peace or war. 
In full uniform, in sight of all, his tall form erect 
and motionless, Scott stood on the pier of Black 
Rock, with his eye fixed on the slowly approaching 
boat. The echo of the first hostile cannon would 
not have died away, before American balls would 
have been crashing into those schooners. The boat 
kept on her way unmolested, and the threatened rup- 
ture with England prevented. 

The whole management of this afiair was mas- 


teiiy, and exhibited tlie statesman, diplomatist, and 
patriot, in noble and striking harmony. A single 
mistake or foolisli bravado might have precipitated 
the country in all the horrors of war. This triumph- 
ing as a peace-maker on the very spot where he 
had won his renown as a warrior, entitles him to a 
double chaplet. 

In the spring he was ordered to superintend the 
removal of the Cherokees west. Opposition and 
violence were expected, but General 8cott by his 
kindness, generosity, and humanity, won the entire 
nation to his ^dews, and removed those fifteen thou- 
sand exiles from their hunting-grounds — the graves 
of their fathers, and all that makes home dear, with- 
out being compelled to resort to a single act of vio- 
lence, lie exhibited a fatherly care for the red and 
depressed fugitives, and showed how beautiful is 
bravery when tempered with humanity. 

"While following the line of emigration, he was 
overtaken at Nashville, by an express from Wash- 
ington, ordering his immediate presence on the 
northern frontier, which was again in a blaze. Hur- 
rying across the country, he arrived at Cleveland and 
Detroit in time to arrest the flames of discord that 
threatened to overleap all barriers, and passing 
down the line to Yermont, restored order and 


Scott preserves peace on the Maine boundary — Frienrlship between him and the 
GoTernor of New Brunswick — Appointed Commander-in-chief— Treatment at 
Washington — Takes charge of the Army in Mexico— Martial-law orders — Fire in 
the rear — Landing at Vera Crnz— The seige and capture of the city — March to 
Cerra Gordo — The battle — Entrance of Jalapa — Of Puebla — Reduction of the 

Geneeal Scott, called from the arduous duty of re- 
moving tlie Cherokees, to allay the excitement on 
our northern frontier, no sooner succeeded in his 
mission than he was appointed to settle the difficul- 
ties on the Maine boundary, which threatened 
momentarily to plunge the nation into a war with 
England. At this time the whole northern frontier 
of Maine was in a state of the most intense excite- 
ment. Trespassers from both sides had been caught 
in the act of encroaching. The establishment of 
British and American military posts followed. The 
land agent sent by the State of Maine with an armed 
force to drive off trespassers, was seized and thrown 
into prison. Enraged at this act of violence, the 


legislatiu'e passed an act placing eight thousand 
volunteers and eight hundred thousand dollars at 
the disposal of the State. Part of the troops were 
raised, and already on the march for the scene of 
action. A British force was also advancing to repel 
this military demonstration. All correspondence be- 
tween the two governors of Maine and New Bruns- 
wick had ceased, and nothing now seemed able to 
avert open hostilities. John Quincy Adams de- 
clared in Congress that the dispute had reached a 
point where arms must settle the question, and for 
one he was "not disposed to have much further 
negotiation." The state authorities were resolved to 
push matters to extremes. It was not an inactive 
state of great excitement, needing a spark to kindle 
a conflagration, but everything was moving directly 
and rapidly to war. Scott hastening to Augusta, 
passed on the way bodies of volunteers eager for 
battle, who hailed him with shouts as their future 
leader. He found everything in commotion. " War," 
" war," was the cry on every side, and in three days 
more blood would have flowed, and a struggle 
commenced, whose termination no one could fore- 
tell. Surrounded by men filled with indignation, 
and breathing threats of vengeance — his ears con- 
stantly assailed with the most exaggerated stories of 
wrong and outrage committed on the frontiers-men, 
and his passions plied by the threats and bravadoes 



of the English troops, it is a wonder he did not fall 
in with the current of popular indignation, and in- 
stead of endeavoring to re-open a correspondence 
with the governor of ISTew Brunswick, jDut himself at 
the head of the gallant troops assembling fi-om every 
point, and drive back the enemy he had long before 
trampled under foot at Chippewa and Lundy's Lane. 
But the general was more peaceable than the gover- 
noQ\ A fortunate circumstance aided the former in 
his pacific intentions. Major General Harvey, Go- 
vernor of New Brunswick, was lieutenant-colonel in 
the British army during the war of 1S12. In 1813, he 
and Scott were both adjutant-generals in their re- 
spective armies, and each being the head of his staff, 
all communications, flags of truce, etc., passed 
through them, thus establishing an acquaintance. 
Their correspondence also, respecting prisoners — in 
providing for their wants, exchange, &c., led to a 
high-minded and chivalric regard for each other. 
They were both tall, commanding figures, and were 
always seen in the front of battle. It recalled 
the deeds and bearing of the knights of old to see 
these two fearless young giants saluting each other 
in friendly recognition, as they closed in mortal 

On one occasion Scott thought he had his gallant 
adversary in his power. He was out reconnoitering, 
and in a skirmish that followed, managed to cut him 


aif, so that escape seemed impossible. Harvey, sit- 
ting quietly on liis horse, saw at a glance his peril- 
ous position. At the same instant an American 
rifle was levelled at him. Scott springing forward, 
knocked up the muzzle of the piece with his sword, 
exclaiming, " hold, he is our prisoner." But Harvey 
not relishing the humiliation of a capture, wheeled 
his horse suddenly, and forcing him to a desperate 
leap, escaped. On another occasion, his port- 
manteau was captured by the Americans, in which 
was found a splendid coat, and a miniature of his 
young and beautiful wife, in England. This coming 
to Scott's ears, he purchased them with his own 
money, and sent them back to his equally noble ad- 
versary. To pave the way still more to the opening 
of a friendly correspondence, Scott, at this time, had 
in his pocket a private note from Harvey, which he 
had not answered. The reply to this was soon fol- 
lowed by other letters, which the latter at length 
allowed to be considered semi-official. A friendly 
feeling between the two negotiators led to the ex- 
pression of friendly sentiments. Anger was allayed, 
excitement quelled, and soon after Governor Harvey 
took the first conciliatory step, by issuing a proclama- 
tion, which, in turn, led to a recall of the troops of 
Maine from the border. Tranquillity was restored, the 
way opened for negotiation, and all difficulties were 
at length settled by the famous Ashburton treaty. 


Tlius, a foiirtli time, had Scott been the great pacifi- 
cator. To see his calm, noble determination through 
all these difficulties to keep the nation from war, one 
would think he had lost all relish for his profession, 
all desire to win distinction on the battle-field. 

Major-General Macomb dying in 1841, the com- 
mand of the entire army of the Eepublic devolved on 
General Scott. He continued to fulfil the duties 
attached to this position in time of peace down to 
1846, when the administration, without forethought 
or preparation, plunged the nation into a war with 
Mexico. It does not come into the scope of this work 
to discuss the measures that led to hostilities. 

On the 28th of March of this year. General Taylor 
drew up his army of 4000 men on the banks of the 
Rio Grande, and planted his guns within range of 
Metamoras. The brilliant victories of Palo Alto, 
Kesaca de la Palma, Monterey, crowned with the 
triumph of Buena Yista, followed in rapid succession. 
Scott, in the mean time, was ordered by the Presi- 
dent to remain in Washington, his counsels unheeded 
and his services despised. But the dangers that 
thickened daily around the American army, at length 
forced the administration to seek the services of the 
man whom they had neglected, and who alone could 
help them out of the embarassments into which they 
had plunged themselves. Perhaps the growing repu- 


tation of Taylor had also something to do with the 
sudden wish to have Scott at the head of the army. 

On the 18th of l^ovember he was ordered to hold 
himself in readiness. Yera Cruz was to be the fii-st 
point of attack, and form the basis of all future opera- 
tions in the heart of Mexico. 

On the 30th Scott took his departure, in the full 
belief that the President designed to sustain him. 
But he who relied on the word or promise of Presi- 
dent Polk, trusted to a broken reed. Before Scott 
left, the President sent for him, told him of the sleep- 
less nights which the Mexican war had given him, 
expressed his great anxiety to have it brought to a 
close, and said that on his genius, energy, and daring 
the future progress of the war must depend. Scott, 
incapable of duplicity himself, could not believe it in 
others. He was moved by the feeling and apparent 
sincerity of the President, and giving all his former 
distrust to the wind, said everywhere to his friends, 
" The President has acted nobly." And yet, at the 
same time, this conscientious !^esident was organiz- 
ing a scheme to supersede the Commander-in-Chief, 
(whom he had just sent to the head of the army), and 
place him under the control of a Lieutenant-General, 
without experience, and without military knowledge. 
Nothing but the patriotism of Congress prevented 
the success of this scandalous plot. 

When Scott arrived at New Orleans, on his way to 


the Rio Grande, a friend waited on him, and told him 
that he had a letter from Senator Barrow, in which 
this scheme was divulged. Scott did not believe it, 
and replied, — " Tell friend Barrow it is not possible:' 
An American President cannot he guilty of treachery P 
One hardly knows at which to be most amazed — the 
folly or dishonorable character of this transaction. 

Its success would have covered the authors of it 
with infamy, and our arms with disgrace. It had not 
the merit of sagacity to conceal its moral turpitude. 

Scott's arrival at Tampico was the signal of an 
entire revolution in the character of the American 
army. The cold-blooded murders, acts of violence to 
females, and open robberies, committed by General 
Taylor's army, frightful as they appeared, were 
not half known to our people. The General had 
detailed these things to the government, and asked 
what should be done. " Send the criminals away^"* 
was the imbecile reply of the Secretary. Bat 
the moment Scott took command, he issued his 
famous martial law orders, in which he declared he 
would bring every offender, whether American or 
Mexican, before court-martial, and deal with him as 
he would be dealt with in the United States. There 
was no act, from first to last, that conduced so much 
to the success of the campaign as this. The good be- 
havior of the army which was thus secured, dis- 


armed the Mexicans, and the invaders were treated as 

In the meantime, tlie bill in Congress to raise ten 
addHional regiments, was compelled to make room 
for the grand scheme of appointing a lieutenant-gene- 
ral, and was not acted on till the close of the session. 
Scott was thus left without the resources upon which 
he had relied. Delay, however, was impossible ; 
for he knew the vomito made its appearance in Yera 
Cruz early in the spring, and if the victorious army 
was not on the table-lands of Mexico before that 
time, it would sink before a deadlier foe than lay be- 
hind the walls of the city. Leaving, therefore, ten 
thousand men within the limits of Taylor's com- 
mand, he assembled twelve thousand at the island 
of Lobos, a hundred and twenty-five miles from 
Yera Cruz. Having reconnoitered the city, and se- 
lected a s]3ot west of the island of Sacrificios, for the 
landing, he, on the 9th of March, ordered the troops 
on board the ships-of-war, and set sail. As the fleet 
stood out to sea, Scott, on board the steamer Massa- 
chusetts, passed slowly through it. The decks of 
every vessel were crowded with soldiers, and as they 
caught sight of the tall form of their commander, there 
went up a shout from the whole squadron — bugles 
rang, and the thrilling salute of bands of music 
floated cheerily over the water. He had started 
from "Washington, as he had said, with " a fire in his 


rear," and this new scheme to supplant him, showed 
what a deadly and venomous direction it was taking. 
His noble heart was filled with anxiety, for he knew 
even if that should fail, every movement would be 
narrowly watched, and the first mishap used to efi^ect 
his disgrace. The grand spectacle before him, and 
the consciousness that he was in the midst of a gal- 
lant army, could not drive these thoughts from his 
breast, and turning to the West Point ofiicers that 
stood grouped about him, he said : " Gentlemen, I 
am entering upon this campaign with a halter 
around my neck ; the end of it is at Washington, 
and they are ruthless executioners. Success is abso- 
lutely necessary, and I expect you, my young 
friends, to get this halter off for me." Gallant, yet 
sad words for a commander to use who is about to 
peril his life on the battle-field at the call of his 
country. Bight nobly did these brave men tear that 
halter from his neck, and hung there instead trophies 
innumerable, that no hate of faction or perversion 
of history can ever remove. 


Scott expected that the Mexicans would resist the 
landing of the troops, and he, therefore, as soon as 
the fleet reached its position, ordered two steamers 
and five gun-boats to be ranged in a line, with their 


guns commanding the beacli where the debarkation 
was to take place. Everything being ready, five 
thousand five hundred men were placed in sixty- 
seven surf-boats. 

The scene at this moment was indescribably beauti- 
ful and thrilling. Those sixty-seven boats, laden with 
men and fluttering with standards, fell back in a 
semicircle towards the vessels that were to cover 
them, while far away glittered in the rays of tlie set- 
ting sun the domes and towers of Vera Cruz, sur- 
mounted by the stern battlements of the castle of San 
Juan d'Ulloa. Nearer by, stretched away the low 
sand hills of the coast, against which the surf was 
beating with a monotonous roar. The spars and 
rigging of the foreign ships in the harbor were 
covered with spectators, gazing on the new, unwonted 
scene. A slight breeze rufiled the surface of the 
water, while the blue sky and an unclouded sun, sink- 
ing to his evening repose, shed their light and beauty 
on sea and land. Scott stood on the deck of his 
vessel, with his glass in his hand, now scanning the 
surf-boats as they swelled away in a graceful curve 
from the ships, and now turning an anxious eye to 
the distant shore. For a moment perfect silence 
reigned throughout the fleet, and then the loud report 
of a single cannon rung over the water. The thunder 
of that signal gun had scarce died away, before the 
bands struck up a lively air ; the sweeps sunk in the 


water, and like a single wave, those sixty-seven boats 
swept steadily and swiftly towards the shore. Scott 
watched their progress with the deepest solicitude ; 
but Si*, length, when he saw the soldiers leap into the 
water, and rush ashore, and plant the Stars and 
Stripes on a high sand hill without firing a gun, he 
felt that the city was his. At the exciting spectacle 
the shouts of six thousand men rolled from ship to ship 
till their blended echoes reached the shore, and were 
answered by still louder hurrahs. The sun went down 
on that gallant army, scarcely visible amid the sand 
hills, which every moment grew dimmer and dimmer 
in the departing light. A second and third division 
followed, and by ten at night the entire army of 
twelve thousand men stood up in battle array on the 
barren waste that surrounds Yera Cruz. Amid the 
thunder of cannon and explosion of shells that were 
hurled from the city and castle, each division moved 
to its assigned post with the same regularity and 
accuracy they had been accustomed to move on 


Although the investment of the place was com- 
pleted by the 12th, the operations were suspended 
on account of a fierce " norther" which prevented 
the landing of heavy ordnance, and it was not until 


the 22d that Scott sent a summons to the governor of 
the town to surrender. He at the same time sent safe- 
guards to foreign consuls and officers, and with his 
usual humanity gave free permission to remove the 
women and children. But both and all being rejected, 
he on the 24th opened his fire. Tlie line of the siege 
extended five miles, and on the 25th, from limit to 
limit the batteries were in a blaze. The cannonade 
was terrific and awful. The balls of the twenty-four 
pounders and heavy Paixhan guns dropped with the 
weight of falling rocks amid the dwellings of Yera 
Cruz, while the domes of the churches rung with 
the concussion of shot and shells. At night the 
scene was fearfully grand. Tlie walls of the city 
and castle were in a blaze of fire, the ships in the 
harbor stood revealed in the light of their own 
broadsides, while for five miles all through those 
sand hills it thundered and lightened along the 
American line in incessant explosions. Shells cross- 
ing in every direction wove their fiery net-work over 
the heavens, and dropped blazing among the terrified 
inhabitants within, followed by shrieks and cries that 
were borne even to the ears of the besiegers. Death 
in its most frightful form traversed the streets, for the 
victims, whether men, women, or children, were torn 
and mangled by the heavy shot and exploding shells. 
Huge gaps appeared in the walls, through which 
storming parties might pass, and the morning of the 


26th dawned on a battered, mournful, and doomed 

From the commencement of the siege, nearly one 
hundred and thirty tons of metal had been hurled 
against the town, spreading devastation, ruin, and 
death on every side. The consuls of foreign powers, 
who had not dreamed of such a terrific siege, sent a 
request to Scott for a safeguard for themselves, the 
women, and children. The latter replied that he 
had fully considered the sufferings of the women 
and children before he had fired a shot, and that the 
responsibility must now rest on those who had re- 
fused his offer. The town and fortress surren- 
dered, and with them five thousand prisoners, and 
five hundred pieces of artillery. The flag of the 
republic floated from the top of San Juan D'Ulloa, 
and the first great blow to the Mexican power had 

The siege of Yera Cruz was the first opportunity 
Scott had had of showing the results of his studies 
in Europe and at home. Two battles in his youth 
had elevated him to the first rank in the army. A 
long interval of peace followed, and the youth of 
twenty-eight had become the man of three score. 
There was every prospect of his passing off the stage 
without giving to his country the ripened fruit of 
the tree whose blossoms were so full of promise. It 
does not always follow that because a young com 


mander has fought a bloody and victorious battle, 
that he can plan and cany to a successful termina- 
tion a long and difficult campaign. A good fighter 
is not always a good thinker ; still Scott's conduct 
while on the northern frontier and in the Cherokee 
country, had obtained for him the confidence of the 
nation, and great things were expected of hira. 
But when it was announced that Yera Cruz — ^that 
Gibraltar of Mexico — had fallen, with the loss to the 
American army of only two officers and a few sol- 
diers, men w ere filled with amazement. The soldiers 
themselves, could scarcely believe the evidence of 
their own senses. Thirty years of thought, travel, 
and study had not been thrown away on the Ameri- 
can commander. Such a triumph of skill and 
modern science had never been witnessed on this 
continent. Gen. Taylor had shown what hard fight- 
mg could do, but here was an exhibition of mind 
triumphing over castle walls and well-manned bat- 
teries. During the siege many of the younger 
officers were anxious to carry the place by storm. 
Said Scott to them — " How many men do you sup- 
pose it would cost to do it ?" " Possibly two thou- 
sand or twenty-five hundred ; it would depend on 
circumstances." " But," replied Scott, " I can take 
it with a much less sacrifice." " Yes," was the 
answer, " but the army will win no glory, and 
officers will have no opportunity to distinguish them- 


selves." " Remember, gentlemen," replied tlie vete- 
ran, — in words tliat should be written in gold — ■ 
" that a conmnandeT who deliberately sacrifices one 
]/ife more than is necessa/ry to secure a victory 
is guilty of murd&rr Like Jackson, lie was 
careful as a father of his soldiers ; but of his own 
life he was reckless enough. One day, while walk- 
ing the trenches, in the midst of the firing, he saw 
some soldiers peeping over the parapet to witness 
the effect of their shot. " Down, down, men," he 
exclaimed, " don't expose yourselves." " But, gen- 
eral," replied a bold fellow, " ycm are exposed." 
*' Oh," said he, " generals now-?-days, can be made 
out of anybody, but men cannot be had," Through- 
out the siege he shared with his troops their discom- 
forts, the bivouac, hard fare, cold and damp, and sand- 
storms, from the first day to the last. He examined 
all the stations, gave arders for all the batteries and 
their fire, and indeed knew everything that was 
going on. He, by the aid of his well-appointed 
etaff, was ubiquitous. 

Worth having been appointed temporary governor 
of Yera Cruz, Scott began his march for the city of 
Mexico. With eight thousand men he prepared to 
pierce the inland, dotted with fortifications and 
swarming with people. Twiggs' division first set 
off, followed in a few days by others, and soon 
the great national road was alive with the march- 


ing columns. On the third day, lie reached the base 
of Cerro Gordo, and in front of powerful batteries 
erected on the intrenched and barricaded heights. 


The mountain shouldered up so boldly against 
the river that skirted its base, that the road 
left the banks, and wound through the gorges and 
along the ridges till it finally opened on the rich 
plain beyond. Twiggs having reconnoitered the 
enemy's position, resolved at once to attack it. But 
Patterson having joined him with his volunteers, he 
was induced to defer it till the arrival of Scott. 

The latter no sooner came up than he saw a front 
attack would cost him too many men, if, indeed, it 
proved successful at all. The batteries were placed 
on almost inaccessible ridges one behind the other, 
and all enfilading the road along which the columns 
must move. Besides, above .them all, on the highest 
point of Cerro Gordo, stood a tower and battery com- 
mandino; the entire defences below. To advance in 
front would be making separate entrenched heights 
80 many stepping stones to a last and almost hope- 
less assault on the topmost battery. He saw that to 
climb the steep and slippery heights, surmounted by 
the lower batteries, only to receive the plunging fire 
of those above, would be terrible work, and he de- 
termined, if possible, to avoid it. He, therefore, 


made a new reconnaissance and found that a road 
could be cut around the mountain, on the opposite 
side from the river, and ascending the heights 
beyond, intersect the national road behind the 
Mexican intrenchments. He could thus turn the 
entire position. Working parties were immediately 
detailed, and for three days and nights they toiled 
with unflinching zeal before they were discovered. 
Balls and grape shot were then thrown among them 
but without effect; and on the 17th, the road was 
completed. Twiggs then stormed a height overlook- 
ing all but Cerro Gordo, and took it, and soon as 
night came, detailed a thousand men to bring up 
cannon with which, in the morning he could fling a 
plunging fire on the exposed encampments below. 
A heavy twenty-four pounder, and two twenty-four 
pound howitzers were to be lifted up the almost 
perpendicular sides of the mountain, hundreds of 
feet high. Five hundred men were attached to a 
single gun, relieved as they became exhausted by 
the other five hundred. The night was dark as 
Erebus. A bright fire was built in the gorge below, 
which threw a broad red light on the face of the 
rock, and cast into deeper shadow the chasms that 
opened around. Those five hundred men hanging 
along the sides of the mountain at midnight dimly 
revealed in the fire-light, and slowly pulling the 
sluggish gun after them, while the other five hundred 


lay stretched around, j^i'esented a strange and pictu- 
resque spectacle to the beholder below. Inch by 
inch, and foot by foot, each heavy burden slowly 
ascended the heights, till after eight hours of un- 
ceasing toil, the three guns were planted on the top- 
most rock. The arduous work was accomplished by 
three o''clock in the morning, and when the deep 
shadows that slept in the gorges below, paled before 
the early dawn, there stood the gallant band around 
the guns they had lifted to that perilous height. 
They were now above all the Mexican batteries ex- 
cept the fort and tower of Cerro Gordo. This still 
overlooked them, and they knew would rain shot 
and shells into their midst the moment there was 
sufficient light to reveal their position. But they 
forgot for a moment the murderous work before them 
in the thrilling scene that spread beneath their feet. 
As the morning broke the " sweet music of the 
Mexican revillee" echoed amid the mountains, and 
floated in soft cadences over the summits. At 
length the rays of the sun tipped those lofty peaks, 
and stealing swiftly down their craggy sides, bathed 
the hostile encampment in the rosy light of a spring 
morning. Large bodies of lancers in brilliant uni- 
forms were moving about — dark masses of infantry 
followed, and the loud and stirring notes of the bugle 
echoed amid the rocks. Farther down, and beyond, 
stretched the luxuriant plain, through which rolled 


the ^:ianqiiil river, sliining like silver in the early 
sinibeams. A spirit of romance was shed over the 
sctne, to be dispelled the next moment by the 
thunder of cannon and strife of men. 

The Mexicans saw with astonishment the appari- 
tion of an American battery in their midst, and the 
Tort of Cerro Gordo commenced a plunging fire upon 
it, Twiggs, in turn, hailed death on the entrench- 
ments below. But the lofty fort that beetled over all 
the rest was the key-stone of the whole, and Scott 
had, therefore, cut this side-road so that he could 
storm it in flank. Pillow was left to press in front 
against the lower batteries along the l^ational Eoad ; 
while Harney, with the rifles, 1st artillery, and 7th 
infantry, supported by the 2d and 3d infantry and 4th 
artillery, was to make the crowning efibrt on Cerro 
Gordo itself. The columns were formed under the 
eye of Scott, and he rode slowly along, under a " per- 
fect canopy of balls," encouraging the troops, who 
answered him with loud shouts. At length, when ail 
was ready to charge, " Forward" rung from the lips of 
their gallant leader, and the storming parties moved 
forward. In an instant the steep was in a blaze. A 
solid sheet of fire rolled down its rocky sides, while 
the explosion of cannon was so constant and deafen- 
ing that orders could be no longer heard. It was as 
if one of those terrific tropical thunder-storms had 
burst on the top. The echoes rolled down the gorges, 


and were sent back in deafening reverberations to the 
summits. But the plunging fire that swept to destruc- 
tion the front rank of that firm column, could not 
arrest its onward movement. Scrambling up the 
naked, uncovered rocks that smoked under the balls 
that smote them, they climbed higher and higher, 
the tall athletic form of Harney still in advance. 
Higher and higher, for seven hundred feet, they 
toiled through smoke and flame, until they were lost 
to view amid the sulphurous cla'ids that enveloped 
them. But the next moment, a thrilling shout burst 
from the summit, — they had mounted the barricades, 
and charging over the guns, swept that hill-top like 
a hurricane. Harney, suddenly finding himself almost 
alone in the presence of a large force, began to order 
up his fancied battalions, as though a brigade were at 
his heels. His stentorian voice rung through the battle, 
like a trumpet ; and no sooner was the enemy turned 
in flight, than his swift dragoons wheeled after them, 
chasing them to the very gates of Jalapa, and beyond 
them. Scott, while riding amid the raining balls, saw 
a man holding his shattered arm with the sound one. 
Reining up his horse, a member of his staff told him 
it was Captain Patten. Halting, he inquired if lie 
was badly hurt, but in the terrific thunder crash 
around them, neither question or reply was heard. 
Shields, gallantly leading his brigade to victory, was 
Bhot through the lungs. Pillow alone was unsuccess* 

90 wiNFiELD scorr. 

ful. After tie battle, Scott roue up to Harney, flushed 
with victory, and said, " Colonel Harney, I cannot 
now adequately express my admiration of your gallant 
achievement, but at the proper time I shall take great 
pleasure in thanking you in proper terms." That bright 
April morning had ended in storm and blood. The 
dead lay everywhere. The gorges were choked with 
the Mexicans, while along the fiery track of Harney's 
dragoons, men were stretched in ghastly groups, each 
with his skull cleft, showing the sabre stroke. But 
on every height waved the Stars and Stripes. Scott, 
who by his position, had, in fact, been more exposed 
than the storming-party itself, no sooner saw the 
Americans in the works than he hastened up. The 
spectacle at this moment was thrilling. As he stood 
on that summit, amid the smoke of the guns that were 
still playing on the retiring ranks of the enemy, he 
saw below him the gorges and heights wrapped in 
war-clouds, amid which wandered broken columns 
and shattered battalions, and out of which arose the 
thrilling huzzas of his victorious army. Beside him, 
his lips moving in sil«nt prayer, knelt his chaplain, 
amid the wounded and dying that lay in groups 
around the guns. The storming of that height had 
been a gallant exploit, and Scott witnessed it from 
first to last. And now, as he looked around on 
the panting soldiers, who had moved so fearlessly 
through the fire, his noble heart was filled with affee- 


tion, and he exclaimed, " Soldiers^ I could take 
every one of you to my hosoin f then turning to the 
young West Point officers, who had been heroes every- 
one, and who now gazed with kindling eyes and 
flushed cheeks on their beloved commander, he shook 
his hand at them, while his eye moistened and his 
lips trembled, and said, " Oh ! you young rascals^ 

Of the fifteen thousand who had defended that moun- 
tain, three thousand prisoners, and a multitude of 
wounded and dying remained on the field. As one 
wound up the National Eoad after the battle, and 
underneath the frowning batteries, it seemed a dream, 
that with the loss of only a few hundred men, they had 
been taken. Positions, where apparently ten men 
could keep at bay a hundred, had fallen before inferior 
numbers. It was with feelings of exultation that 
Scott gazed from that conquered summit on his 
trophies below, and then turned to the rich plain that 
lay beyond, upon the domes and towers of Jalapa, and 
far away to the snow-capped summit of Orizaba. 

In a few days the fortifications were deserted, and 
the victorious army was streaming over the Mexican 
plains. The wolf-dog and the buzzard alone held 
sway, and the stench of putrid corpses filled the deep 
abysses of the mountain. 

The orders of General Scott, previous to this battle, 


is one of the most remarkable iu military annals. 
They are more like a prophecy than directions. 

" Headquarters of the Army, ) 
Plan del Rio, April 17, 1847. J 

" The enemy's whole line of intrenchments and 
batteries will be attacked in front, and at the same 
time turned, early in the day to-morrow — probably 
before, ten o'clock, a.m. 

"The second (Twiggs') division of regulars is already 
advanced within easy turning distance towards the 
enemy's left. That division has instructions to move 
forward before daylight to-morrow, and take up a 
position across the National Road in the enemy's rear, 
so as to cut off a retreat towards Xalapa. It may be 
reinforced to-day, if unexpectedly attacked in force, 
by regiments — one or two taken from Shields' brigade 
of volunteers. If not, the two volunteer regiments 
will march for that purpose at daylight to-morrow 
morning, under Brigadier-general Shields, who will 
report to Brigadier-general Twiggs, on getting up with 
him, or the General-in-chief, if he be in advance. 

" The remaining regiment of that volunteer brigade 
will receive instructions in the course of this day. 

" The first division of regulars (Worth's) will fol- 
low the movement against the enemy's left at sunrise 
to-morrow morning. 

" As already arranged, Brigadier-general Pillow's 


brigade will march at six o'clock to-morrow morning 
along the route he has carefully reconnoitered, and 
stand ready as soon as he hears the report of arms on 
our right, or sooner if circumstances should favor him, 
to pierce the eneny's line of batteries at such point — 
the nearer the river the better — as he may select. 
Once in the rear of that line, he will turn to the right 
or left, or both, and attack the batteries in reverse ; or, 
if abandoned, he will pursue the enemy with vigor 
until further orders. 

" Wall's field battery and the cavalry will be held 
in reserve on the National Koad, a little out of view 
and range of the enemy's batteries. They will take 
up that position at nine o'clock in the morning. 

" The enemy's batteries being carried or abandoned, 
all our divisions and corps will pursue with vigor. 

" This pursuit may be continued many miles, until 
stopped by darkness or fortified positions towards 
Xalapa. Consequently, the body of the army will 
not return to this encampment, but be followed to- 
morrow afternoon, or early the next morning, by the 
baggage trains of the several corps. For this purpose, 
the feebler ofiBcers and men of each corps will be left 
to guard its camp and effects, and to load up the 
latter in the wagons of the corps. A commander of 
the present encampment will be designated in the 
course of this day. 

" As soon as it shall be known that the enemy's 

94 wiNFiELD scon. 

works have been carried, or that the general pursuit 
has been commenced, one wagon for each regiment, 
and one for the cavahy, will follow the movement, 
to receive, under the directions of medical officers, 
the wounded and disabled, who will be brought back 
to this place for treatment in general hospital. 

" The Surgeon-general will organize this important 
service and designate that hospital, as well as the 
medical officers to be left at it. 

" Every man who marches out to attack or pursue 
the enemy, will take the usual allowance of ammuni- 
tion, and subsistence for at least two days. 
By command of Maj. Gen. Scott, 

H. L. SCOTT, A. A. A. General." 

The next day after the battle, Jalapa was entered, 
and on the 22d, Worth took possession of the castle 
and town of Perote without striking a blow. The 
15th of May he entered the ancient city of Puebla. 
Thus, in two months, with twelve thousand men, 
Scott had taken ten thousand prisoners — nearly the 
amount of his entire army — four large cities, seven 
hundred cannon, ten thousand stand of small arms, 
and thirty thousand shells and shot. When this news 
was brought back from that little army locked up in 
the Mexican mountains, the country, with all its ex- 
travagant expectations and boastful spirit, was taken 
by surprise. Men found that facts surpassed their 


own boasting, and the results exceeded their most 
vivid imaginations. 

Scott at Jalapa issued a proclamation to the Mexi- 
can people, in which he appealed to the bishops 
and clergy of the towns through which his army had 
passed, to confirm his declaration, that the rights of 
property, and the persons of individuals had been 
everywhere respected. The people eagerly sought 
for this proclamation — it spread on the wings of the 
wind — their conqueror promised what their own 
army refused. The victor swore to guarantee and 
protect rights, which for a long time had existed only 
in name. The good conduct of the troops, thanks to 
Scott's martial-law orders, furnished testimony to 
the truth of his declarations. "Worth writing from 
Puebla, said, "it takes admirably, and has accom- 
plished more than all the blows from Palo Alto to 
Cerro Gordo." 

The people of Puebla were amazed when they 
saw the little army of the Americans enter their 
city. Measuring it by the deeds it had wrought, 
they expected to behold an army of giants, with 
terrific engines of war, and lo, four or five thousand 
men quietly took up their quarters in the town, on, 
their way to the capital of Mexico. 

Scott at Puebla reminds one of Napoleon in Italy. 
What with detachments left behind, killed and 
wounded, sick, deserters, and the dismissed volun- 


teers, whose term of service had expired, his whole 
effective force did not reach five thousand men, the 
remnant of the twelve thousand who had landed at 
V^era Cruz. Yet here he was, two hundred miles 
from the city of Yera Cruz, in a city of eighty thou 
sand inhabitants, surrounded by two millions of peo - 
pie, and watched by an army of twenty thousand men. 
One can hardly conceive a position in which a com- 
mander would feel greater anxiety. The only 
thought would naturally be how to get safely back 
to his ships. But Scott was simply planning the 
best manner of marching on the capital, surrounded 
with fortifications, and teeming with a population 
of two hundred thousand. I^othing excites so much 
surprise as the rashness and daring of such a 
scheme, except the genius and energy that carried 
it through. There, on that elevated plain, seven 
thousand feet high, encircled by the Cordilleras — on 
the very spot where stood the ancient city of 
Cholula, with its two hundred thousand inhabitants, 
and where the first Cortez gazed on the towers of 
four hundred idol temples, now stood the second 
Cortez, with his little band of brave men around 
him. Three hundred and twenty-four years divide 
those conquerors — the only two whose invading feet 
had ever pressed this soil, and both making an epoch 
in the history of the- courtry. The first Cortez 
gazed on innumerable domes and towers, glittering 


in the sun — on gorgeous cities, and a land teeming 
witli people. Of all tlieir temples and palaces, 
nothing now remained save the lofty pyramid of 
Cholula, on the top of which sacrifices were of- 
fered to the gods. Solitary and alone it rises in 
gloomy grandeur from the midst of a vast and deso- 
late plain — an enduring monument above the grave 
of a buried city, and a memento of the life that 
was once there. Masses of lava scattered around, 
attesting that volcanoes had raged and died on that 
spot, gave a still more sombre aspect to the scene. 
On this high plain, as it were, away from the world, 
alone in its beauty, stands this " city of the angels," 
What a strange contrast does the American army 
present to all this. Rushing from the home of civi- 
lization, and out of all the stir and activity of 
modern life, it suddenly finds itself amid the past, 
surrounded with men, and dwellings, and imple- 
ments of all kinds that belonged to a former age. 


The army at Puebla — Description of the scenery — Arrival of reinforcements — !)»■ 
parture for Mexico — Ascent of tiie Cordilleras — Magnificent scenery — First view 
of the plain and city of Mexico — The road found impassable — Difficult marcll 
round Lake Chalco to the Acapulco road — Attack on Contreras — SnflFering and 
anxiety of the army at night — Storming of the fort — Enthusiastic reception of 
Scott by his victorious troops — San Antonio taken — The three battles of Cheru- 
busco — ^The flight and pursuit — Scott after battle — The Mexicans propose an 

The troops took possession of tlie city on the 15th of 
May, and remained there nearly two months. In 
that short space, seven hundred perished from sick- 
ness. The government at home was heartily sick of 
the war into which it had plunged the country, and 
began to shoM^ an anxiety to bring it to a termina- 
tion, half of which at the outset would have pre- 
vented it altogether. Mr. Trist was sent a commis- 
sioner to make certain proposals, which it was hoped 
might prevent farther hostilities. This futile nego- 
tiation, together with the expectation of re^'j^ force* 


ments on their way, delayed the army till mid sum- 
mer. On the 5th of May, Col. M'Intosh left Yera 
Cruz with eight hundred men, and a train of one 
hundi'ed and thirty-two wagons. He was followed 
five days after by Gen. Cadwallader, with six hun- 
dred. The next week. Gen. Pillow, with a thousand 
men, took the same route, and still later. General 
Pierce, with twenty-five hundred. Other detach- 
ments also arrived, swelling the amiy to nearly 
eleven thousand men. Scott in the meantime had 
not been idle. He had drilled the five thousand 
men under him almost daily till they had acquired 
a perfection of discipline that doubled their efii- 
ciency. The reinforcements brought everything the 
army needed, but money. The military chest was 
in a sad condition, and great dissatisfaction prevailed 
among the troops. Everything, however, being put 
in the best preparation his straitened circumstances 
allowed. Gen. Scott having completed his plans, 
called his oflicers together and marked out before 
them the future course and operations of the army. 
On the morning of the Tth, Harney's brigade of 
cavalry moved out of the city followed by Twiggs' 
division. It was a bright summer day, and the long 
array of horsemen, of artillery, and infantry, her- 
alded by bands of music, j)resented a beautiful ap- 
pearance as it wound over the rolling country, 
dotted with gardens, and began to ascend the Cor- 


dilleras, Scott surrounded with his staff and a hun- 
dred dragoons soon followed, while shouts greeted him 
as he disappeared through the gates and moved with 
his glittering cortege along the road. As the troops 
kept ascending, the view became enlarged, and the 
wind of those tropical highlands blew cold and chill 
around them. Far away Popocatapatl lifted its snowy 
crest eighteen thousand feet into the clear heavens, 
while farther still another icy summit sent its cold 
breath over the army. Scott had so few troops that 
he could leave no depots and garrisons on the way, to 
keep open his communications. He had cut himself 
loose from help. One lost battle and all the avenues 
would close forever behind him. Victory alone 
could keep the road open. With eleven thousand 
he was advancing on an army of thirty thousand, 
defended by fortresses and well supplied with heavy 
artillery. Over all these he must march into a city 
in which thirty thousand more combatants awaited 
his approach. Yet he issued his orders with the 
same confidence he would have done had fifty thou- 
sand men followed his standard. He had started for 
Mexico, and it must be a fiercer fire than ever rolled 
from a Mexican battery that could stop him. He 
had said to General Worth at Puebla, who wished 
to advance his division eighteen miles from the city, 
in order to watch the enemy, and who also remarked 
that it was in good retreating distance, " I never put 


one foot forward witliout designing to bring the 
otlier up to it." Either he would dictate terms to 
the enemy in their own capital, or they should exult 
orer his grave. 

The army held its way through the wildest moun- 
tain scenery, upon the great stage-road, gradually 
reaching a still higher elevation — now winding 
along a densely wooded ravine, and again skirting . 
the shore of some sweet lake, that reflected in its 
placid bosom the frowning heights around. All was 
new, and strange, and wild. Cool streams, gushing 
from the sides of the mountain, refreshed the weary 
troops, but at night the wind from the icy heights 
around benumbed their limbs, and made them 
pine for the plains below. On the third day they 
reached the pass of Rio Frio, more than ten thou- 
sand feet above the level of the sea. Tliis icy little 
stream had cut away amid the rocks that here closed 
with a gloomy and threatening aspect over the road. 
Ko human foot could scale the precipitous sides of 
the beetling cliffs, which left but a narrow gorge 
through which the traveller could pass. A stubborn 
defence might have been made here, and the enemy 
at one time had evidently resolved to erect a barri- 
cade, and establish batteries ; for timber had been 
felled, and other preparations made. The design, 
however, had been abandoned, and the army passed 
on, and at length reached the highest crest of the 


mountains. For a long time officers and men had been 
looking out in eager expectation, to obtain the first 
view of Mexico. At length the last height was gained, 
and lo the city and plain were before them. A loud 
shout from the head of the column rolled down the 
mountain, and all was excitement and enthusiasm. 
Jerusalem lying like a sweet vision in the plain, could 
scarcely have presented a lovelier spectacle to the 
Crusaders of old than burst at once on the astonished 
army. The cold mountain air was rushing around 
them, but far, far down, and away, spread the vast 
plain of Mexico, shining in summer freshness and 
beauty. In its midst the domes and towers of the 
city glittered in the sunlight. All around it gleamed 
forth the countless lakes that almost lave its walls, 
while a soft haze overhung all, imparting still greater 
tranquillity to the scene. Farther away shone the 
white tops of Popocatapetl and Iztac-eithuatl — 
their flashing helmets shining clear in the pure at- 
mosphere of the upper regions, while around their 
feet clung the warm vapor of the lakes that strove 
in vain to ascend their sides. Scott reined up with 
his escort, and gazed long and thoughtfully on the 
magnificent spectacle. Before him like a map, lay 
spread out the field of his labor — ^there, shining in 
summer tranquillity, was the city where his victori- 
ous march was to stop. But between him and it lay 
bloody fields, and perchance, into its crowded popu« 


lation, and amid all that magnificence and wealth, 
he would be compelled to spread devastation and 
ruin. The memories of the past mingled with 
anxious thoughts of the future. How many of that 
gallant army which moved so gaily down the slope 
would ever recross those mountains. On that plain 
thousands of ambitious hearts would cease to beat, 
and when the lessening files should again disappear 
over this summit, their standards pointing homeward, 
sad remembrances would be mingled with joyous re- 
collections, and sad farewells be wafted to comrades 
sleeping in their glorious graves below. As the 
advance column descended into the valley, the soli- 
tude and silence of those highlands were exchanged 
for the bustle and activity of an army in presence 
of the enemy. Horsemen galloping along the roads, 
and scouts scouring the country in every direction, 
warned the American commander that his move- 
ments were watched, and his approach expected. 
Tliree routes to Mexico now ofiered themselves to 
him — the great road from Yera Cruz, along which 
lie was moving, or the Acapulco road, or the Toluca 
road. The Acapulco road entered the city at right 
angles to the former, while the Toluca was beyond 
it still farther west. 

Scott first made a reconnaissance of the road along 
which his army was marching, and found to his re- 
gret that it must be abandoned. El Penon, a forti- 


fied hill, completely" commanded the approach, and 
was made so impregnable, both by nature and art, 
that a greater sacrifice than he could afford would 
be required to carry it. On one side the hill was 
perfectly inaccessible, on the other a ditch twenty- 
four feet wide and ten feet deep had been cut, run- 
ning from marsh to marsh. Above this bristled 
fiftj-one cannon, commanding the road and enfilad- 
ing the ditch. From the fort to the city ran a cause- 
way four miles long and surrounded by water. The 
place, therefore, could not be turned, and to carry it 
by assault was a task too great for even that gallant 
army. Besides, if the attempt should succeed, there 
remained four miles of causeway to be traversed, 
swept the whole length by the enemy's cannon. 
Scott, therefore, determined, if possible, to get across 
to the Acapulco road, whose defences, though strong, 
were not so impregnable. But Lake Chalco covered 
the whole intermediate space, and though a cause- 
way stretched across a portion that had been 
partially drained, it was two miles long and an army 
of fifty thousand men could not have forced it against 
the troops and cannon that defended it. The only 
alternative left was to wheel back and go around the 
lake, but here he was met by the mountains that 
came down boldly to the shore. A passage, however, 
was deemed practicable, and "Worth, who command- 
ed the rear division, now took the lead and the army 

C0NTEEEA6. 105 

slowly picked its way amid rocks and along a broken 
path which a few hours labor of the enemy would 
have rendered wholly impassable. It was rough 
work for the artillery and wagons. In less than two 
days the twenty-seven miles were accomplished, and 
on the ITth, the head of Worth's column entered 
San Augustine on the Acapulco road, nine miles 
from Mexico. Here the depot of the army was 

Every precaution, however, had been taken to 
render this road impassable, but there was more 
ground to work on, and the army was not shut in 
between marshes and a mountain. San Antonia, a 
village a little in advance of San Augustine, was 
strongly fortified, and could be approached only by 
a long narrow causeway, on which the batteries of 
the enemy could play with deadly eifect. jSTear 
this village were the fortified heights of Contreras 
and the bridge of Churabusco, and farther on and 
closer to the city, the hill of Chapultepec. Scott had 
apparently gained nothing by changing roads. Over 
all those fortifications, defended by a hundred cannon 
and thirty thousand men, his army of less than 
eleven thousand must march before they reached the 
narrow causeways leading to the city and to the in- 
terior lines of defence, which alone were by no 
means to be despised. But his practised eye saw 
at once that if Contreras could be carried San 

106 AviNFiELD scorr. 

Antonia would be turned, and hence rendered harm- 
less. Santa Anna never dreamed this was practicable 
True the country stretched five miles from the road 
to the mountains, but it was a vast field of volcanic 
rocks and lava, and broken eminences, intersected 
bj ditches, and covered with prickly pear, over 
which he thought artillery could not be carried. 


Scott, however, ordered Pillow's division to cut a 
road to it, under the direction of Lee, the chief 
engineer. At four o'clock in the afternoon P. F. 
Smith, and Riley, of Twigg's division, and Pierce, 
and Cadwallader, of Pillow's, were with their brigades 
carefully picking their way over the rocks, steadily 
pushing their columns on towards the road that led 
from the fortress to the city. This was a beautiful 
road, and as the enemy saw with astonishment an army 
approaching them over a country hitherto deemed 
impassible, reinforcements were ordered up, and 
along, large bodies of cavalry in quick suc- 
cession were seen to gallop, showing that Valen- 
cia was rapidly concentrating his forces on the 
menaced point. Captain Magruder, with his battery 
of twelve and six pounders, and Lieut Callender, 
with his mountain howitzers and rockets, slowly 
forced their way towards the enti'enchments. The 


ground covered witli rocks, prickly pear and cactus, 
and the ditches rendered doubly impassable to 
horses, by hedges of the maguey plant, made their 
progress so slow that long before they could get into 
position, grape, canister, and round shot were hurled 
into their ranks from twenty-two guns of the enemy. 
With the utmost effort only three pieces could at 
last be got into battery. These three comparatively 
light guns made but a feeble response to the murder- 
ous cannonade from the heights. Still for two hours 
the infantry and artillerymen bravely stood their 
ground. At every discharge of the hostile batte- 
ries, they would fall flat on their faces, and let the 
iron storm rush over them, and then rise and serve 
their guns. Tliis was disheartening work, and at 
length two of the pieces were dismounted, and most 
of the cannoneers killed or wounded. The force 
was then recalled. Kiley, in another part of the 
field, kept up a skirmishing with the enemy, and 
several times repulsed the charges of Mexican 
cavalry. But without cavalry or artillery, no de- 
monstration could be made against the force before 
him. K the troops charged in line, having no artil- 
lery, they would be cut asunder by cavalry, and if 
in column, they would be rent into fragments by 
Mexican batteries. All fm-ther attempts on the hill 
were therefore abandoned for that day, but Scott 
kept pushing his troops towards the road that led 


from Contreras to tlie city. The reinforcements 
that were pouring over it, must be stopped at all 
hazards, and he sent forward by another route. 
Col. Morgan followed soon after by Shields' brigade 
of New York and South Carolina volunteers to 
occupy the church and few houses of the settlement 
itself, and thus block up the road. Waiting till 
dark, they made a detour through a dense forest, 
and at length reached their destination. 

The night of the 19th closed cheerless and disheart- 
ening around the American army. Tlie heavens 
were black, and the sombre hue which a pending 
storm shed on everything, rendered the prospect 
still more desolate. Tlie rifle regiment that had 
been toiling and fighting all the afternoon, was 
ordered with the 1st. artillery and 3d infantry to the 
Bame hamlet. Through ch apparel and cactus they had 
forced their way, and late at night, tired and hungry, 
joined Eiley's brigade, which, with "Worth, occu- 
pied the road. Shield's brigade encamped in an ad- 
joining orchard, while Cadwallader's lay still nearer 
the enemy. The road being enfiladed by the bat- 
teries of the fortress, the troops occupying it built 
breast works, both to conceal themselves and protect 
them from the grape shot. Nothing could be more 
discouraging than their position. Part had made 
their way over rocks, ditches, and through chappare 
of thorns to that hamlet, and part through a dense 


forest, and now occupied ground tliey were utterlj? 
ignorant of, or of the route to tlie other portions of 
the army. Each asked the other where was Scott, 
but no one could tell. K they could only hear from 
him, all would be right ; one word from their com- 
mander, letting them know he was aware of their 
position, would be sufficient. But cut off from all 
communication with the army, without artillery, 
ignorant of the ground they occupied, crushed, as it 
were, between the overwhelming forces of Santa 
Anna in Mexico, and those under Valencia in Con- 
treras, the gloomy night promised a still gloomier 
morning. Scott was weighed down with nearly 
equal anxiety, for he could obtain no tidings from these 
gallant brigades. He had sent out seven different 
officers, but not one could get through. Capt. Lee 
at last reached him with a message from Shields, 
announcing that his orders had been fulfilled. Still 
he had reason to be anxious, for a vigilant and dar- 
ing enemy would, ere morning, have dealt him a 
staggering blow. To add to the gloom and despon- 
dency of the men, a heavy rain set in. Most of the 
officers hadlost their blankets and overcoats in cross- 
ing the rough and thorny fields to their position, and 
uncovered, lay down beside their worn-out soldiers 
in the road and orchard. " Too weary to eat, too 
wet to sleep," they lay packed together in the dirt 
which, at length, became a mass of mud, and a sorry 


set of men they were. At leugtli it was whispered 
from man to man, " we stoQ'Tn at Tnidniglitr A sud- 
den thrill made them for a moment forget their con- 
dition, hut midnight came, and with it a deluge of 
rain. Tlie road soon became flooded with water as 
it poured in streams amid the weary troops, and they 
were compelled to abandon even that miserable 
couch, and stand crowded and shivering, shoulder to 
shoulder under the pelting storm, till near daylight. 
The orders were to have everything ready for an at- 
tack by daylight, but the darkness and the storm 
rendered this impracticable. But about four o'clock 
Riley and Smith defiled their troops silently from 
the road and moved towards the position assigned 
them in rear of the fort. A ravine lined with orch- 
ards and corn-fields presented an admirable protec- 
tion for them, and they reached their place of con- 
cealment unobserved. Cadwallader took position in 
their rear, while Shields, with Col. Morgan's regiment 
held the road to stop the approach of reinforcements 
from the city, and also to cut off the retreat of Va- 
lencia's army after the hill should be carried. The 
Mexicans remained entirely ignorant of all these 
movements, and were expecting to have the attack in 
front renewed in the morning. 

The American troops were now themselves again. 
Though every soldier was soaking wet and shivering 
with cold and hunger, not a heart beat faint. Hun- 


ger, cold, and fatigue, were all forgotten, for they 
were within tiger-spring of the foe. Besides to stim- 
ulate their ardor, the hill was shaking with the thun- 
der of Valencia's cannon, and clouds of smoke were 
rolling heavily away over their heads. The daylight 
which dawned so murkily through the morning 
vapors, revealed to the enemy General Shields' 
brigade occupying the road, and the Mexican Gene- 
ral had turned his guns upon it, little dreaming 
of the volcano that was about to open at his very 

At length, at six o'clock, Smith slowly walked up 
to his men and asked if all was ready. The kindling 
eye and eager look answered him, and " Tnen, fov' 
ward " ran along the line. The next moment they 
leaped over the slight ridge that concealed them, 
and pouring in a sudden deadly fire that seemed to 
the astonished Mexicans to issue from the ^ery 
bowels of the earth, rushed forward with shouts and 
yells that drowned even the crack of their own rifles 
and the roar of the enemy's guns. The fire of the 
fort was instantly turned on them, but owing to the 
rapid advance of the maddened Americans, it went 
over their heads, and they kept on their headlong 
way, firing as they ran, till they reached the para- 
pet. Scoffing at the volley that met them here, they 
cleared the breastwork with a bound, and the brave 
rifles having no bayonets, clubbed their pieces, and 


tlie heavy blows of the stocks could be plainly heard 
amid the cries and groans of the dying. The work 
of death then commenced, for though General Salas 
succeeded in rallying his troops, and endeavored 
bravely to stem the torrent, he only increased the 
carnage. He ordered a splendid body of lancers 
that came winding up the road in their brilliant uni- 
fomis, to charge the Americans, but frightened at 
the yells of the struggling, swaying mass, they 
turned and galloped away. The actual conflict 
lasted scarcely twenty minutes, but the pursuit and 
carnage continued. Every passage was literally 
blocked with the fugitives, among whom the fore- 
most of the Americans plunged so madly, that those 
in rear dared not fire, lest they should kill their 
comrades. The part that took the road to the city, 
was cut down or made prisoners by Shields' brigade. 
Every ravine was filled with Mexican corpses ; all 
through the cornfields and orchards, the earth was 
sprinkled with the dead and wounded. Five hun- 
dred getting jammed in a pass, thirty Americana 
headed them off, and firing down on them, took the 
whole prisoners, of whom one hundred were officers. 
It seemed as if the despondency, and suffering, 
and hunger of the night before had filled the troops 
with tenfold fury, so hotly and desperately did they 
press the fugitives. On every side small bodies of 
Americans were seen pouring their volleys into large 


masses of the enemy, as they crowded over the 
fields. Through the forest, amid the volcanic rocks, 
and thickets of chapparel, the incessant crack of the 
rifle and shouts of men were heard. Many were too 
frightened to ask for quarter. The awful yells and 
frightful ferocity with which the American troops 
had scaled that hill, and leaped into their midst, 
made them believe their doom was sealed if taken, 
and thus the slaughter was increased. This fierce 
pursuit continued for hours, and when at length the 
last soldier had obeyed the recall, and the weary re- 
giments were once more in their respective places, 
that hill presented a frightful spectacle. Seventeen 
hundred killed and wounded, had been stretched 
around it, and along the roads that led away from its 
base. The wet earth was red with blood. Over 
eight hundred prisoners, and among them fom' gene- 
rals, twenty-two pieces of brass cannon, seven hun- 
dred pack-mules, and small arms, ammunition, 
stores, etc., in vast quantities, were the trophies of 
this great victory, and more than all, a strong posi- 
tion had been taken, and another rendered useless, 
with comparatively small loss to the American army, 
A great moral eflfect, moreover, had been secured. 
The prestige of success — ^the idea of invincibility, 
now surrounded the invaders, and na certain reliance 
could be placed by the enemy on their remaining 
strong defences. The shout of triumph that rolled 

114 WmriELD SCOTT. 

from the summit of Contreras carried consternation 
into the city, and Santa Anna, for the third time, 
trembled before the skill and daring that set at 
naught his strongest fortresses and choicest troops. 
But if the dismay and despondency were great on 
one side, the exultation and confidence were equally 
great on the other. That little army, stretched in 
the mud beneath the pitiless storm, and cwt off from 
all communication with their leader, at midnight, 
and that same army sending up their shout of tri- 
umph at sunrise from the top of Contreras, present a 
wide contrast. The rifles had earned imperishable 
fame. Scott shared in the enthusiasm of the victory, 
as he had in the anxiety of the night before. 
Divided from his troops, and no longer able, with 
his presence, to remedy faults or check reverses, he 
knew that failure might easily occur, and felt how 
discouraging to his own troops, and inspiriting to the 
enemy it would be. But little sleep visited his eyes 
that night ; and as he gazed out into the darkness 
and pouring rain, and ever and anon asked if 
there were any tidings from the other half of his 
army, his staff saw that he felt more than he dare 
express. As one after another came back, drenching 
wet from his fruitless efforts to penetrate to those 
brigades, his anxiety increased, and not till the brave 
and indefatigable Lee brought a message from 
Shields, did he breathe free again. The first gun 


tired at day-break on the brigade of Shields brought 
him to the saddle, and he and his escort swept along 
the road towards Oontreras. But before he arrived 
the hill w^as carried, the battle won, and he beheld 
with the enthusiastic joy of youth the dismembered 
and fugitive army of Yalentia streaming over the 
fields. As those brave brigades saw him approach, 
there went up a shout as loud as that which greeted 
the morning sun when the American flag floated 
from the top of Contreras, Riding up to the rifles, 
he exclaimed, " Brave rifles^ you have heen hajptized 
in fire and hlood, and come out steelP He was 
mounted on a horse seventeen or eighteen hands 
high, and with his tall form towering above all his 
escort, he rode slowly amid the ranks, while the 
very heavens shook with the acclamations of the sol- 
diers. There was a wildness and enthusiasm in the 
welcome that the composure of that iron-hearted 
chief could no longer resist. This almost fierce mani- 
festation of love unmanned him, and reining up his 
horse, he dropped the bridle, and stretching out his 
hands, while his lips quivered and his eye moistened 
with feeling, he exclaimed, •' silence^ silence.^'' The 
tumult suddenly hushed, and every ear was bent to 
catch the words that should fall from his lips. 

With his hand still outstretched, and his face 
turned towards heaven, he exclaimed, " Soldiers^ 
in the fi/rst jglace^ great glory to God; m the second 


'place great glory to this gallant little armyy " Oh," 
said one of the officers, " you should have heard the 
frantic shouts and hurrahs that followed." It seemed 
as if the soldiers would break their ranks and tear 
him from his horse. The doubts and distrust of the 
night before had given way to unbounded confidence 
in their leader's skill, and at his command they now 
would have charged on ten or ten thousand alike. The 
gallant 4:th artillery lost two guns at the battle of 
Buena Vista, though not until Captain O'Brien had 
seen his whole section shot down and stood alone 
with his pieces. Here they were retaken, and this 
noble com]3any gathered round them with cheer after 
cheer. Scott riding up at the moment, waved his 
hand and shouted with the rest, and exultation and joy 
reigned throughout the arn'y. Three thousand five 
hundred men had demolished, with a single blow, 
an army of seven thousand. 

The day's work, however, glorious as it had been, 
was not yet completed. Three more battles and 
three more victories were to be fought and won be- 
fore sunset. The American army was now in the 
very midst of fortifications, and could not pause. 
Behind and near it lay San Antonia, and before it 
and only four miles distant Churubusco. The for 
mer was in reality turned, and when G-arland, with 
his brigade approached, the Mexicans fled, and he 
took possession without resistance, and uniting with 


Clarke, which had cut the retiring column in two, 
started in fierce pursuit. 


But the great movement of the day was on Churu- 
busco, where Santa Anna had concentrated his 
troops, and where the fugitives from Contreras and 
San Antonia rallied. Churubusco was on the great 
causeway leading from San Antonia, to Mexico, but 
a canal stretched along in front of it, over whi<ih 
the causeway was continued by a bridge. This 
bridge was swept by batteries, and a column advanc- 
ing over the causeway to its still narrower entrance 
would be exposed to a concentrated and tremendous 
fire. To make the approach still more perilous, a 
field work had been erected some three hundred 
yards in front of this tete du jpont though a little one 
side of the causeway. This was composed of a 
hacienda surrounded by a wall pierced with a 
double row of embrasures and commanding the road 
— a stone building inside still higher, and a fortified 
church higher than all. The batteries mounted here 
not only overlooked and swept the road along which 
the American columns must pass, but were within 
close cannon shot of the bridge which was to be car- 
ried by storm. There was, however, a side road to 
the hacienda from Coyhoacan, and along this the 


divisions of Twiggs and Pillow, together with Shields 
brigade, accompanied bj the rifles, were to advance 
and divert its fire from "Worth, who, keeping along 
the main canseway from San Antonia, would leave 
it one side, and be arrested only at the bridge. 
Thus two separate battles were to be fought within 
half cannon shot of each other. 

Scott, accompanying Pillow's division, had halted 
when within a mile of Churubusco, and arranged the 
whole attack. He then took his position on the top 
of a house, where he could survey both battle-fields, 
whose clouds were to mingle into one. The brigades 
of Shields and Pierce were ordered to occupy a cross 
road whi-^L led to the rear of Churubusco, and thus 
efifect the double purpose of deterring Santa Anna 
from sending reinforcements to the hacienda, by keep 
ing him in constant fear of an attack on his rear and 
flank, and also of cutting ofiT the retreat of Rincon's 
army should Twiggs succeed in driving it out. No- 
thing could be more perfect than this plan of General 
Scott's. By it, he prevented Santa Anna from con- 
centrating his overwhelming force on a single point. 
He confused and distracted him so, that he did not 
know where the heaviest blow was to fall ; while, at 
the same time, so much was threatened, that defeat 
anywhere seemed to involve complete ruin. This 
spreading of so many meshes around the feet of the 
enemy, exhibits the wonderful generalship of Scott. 


A lommander is great in proportion to the extent oi 
his resources ; and though the world generally does 
not understand this, it gives him full credit in the 
results which it can understand. When the soldier 
becomes aware of it, he moves to his station in 
perfect assurance of victory. He loves the com- 
mander who, by his daring and stubborn resolution, 
tramples under foot the best-laid schemes ; but he 
delights still more in one who can not only outfight, 
but outwit the enemy. Especially is this true of the 
American soldier, for, to an American, a man over- 
reached is already a beaten man. Besides, he feels a 
certain elasticity and confidence the moment that he 
finds his foe disconcerted. It was thus Scott acquired 
such an ascendancy over his troops. They did not care 
what his orders were — they knew they could be ful- 
filled. The character of the separate duties of brigades 
or regiments, or the difficulties in the path of each, 
were not to be considered, the general, final result 
would inevitably be a victory. Defeat under Scott 
the army came at last to consider impossible. Me could 
not commit a blunder ; and should a repulse occur, 
the blame must rest on the troops, not on him. Their 
confidence was not misplaced, and that same confi- 
dence gave them tenfold power. Whether standing 
']uietly under a murderous fire, or storming almost 
inaccessible heights, the thought of not succeeding, it 


their chief was looking on, never entered their minds. 
His direction to do a thing, was conclusive evidence 
that it could be done. 

Everything being ready, at one o'clock the order 
was given to advance, and Scott saw the columns 
moving along the different roads in beautiful order. 
At length they came within reach of the Mexican 
batteries, which opened a tremendous fire upon them. 
Twiggs, marching full on the hacienda, planted his 
guns in close range, and the next moment the plain 
shook with their heavy explosions. The cannonading 
was like the incessant roll of thunder. Through the 
smoke that rolled over the causeway and past this 
blazing volcano, "Worth led his division swiftly towards 
the batteries on the bridge. Colonel Garland, a little 
to the right of the road, and Clarke and Cadwallader 
directly on the road, marched steadily forward through 
the fire. The heads of the columns melted away 
before the sweeping discharges from the batteries 
on the bridge, but the ranks closed steadily up, 
and under those gallant leaders, pressed fii'mly on. 
Garland's column suffered severely from a line of 
infantry as he approached, but nothing could check 
the ardor of his troops, that kept pushing on till the 
line before them broke and fled, Clarke's brigade, 
with equal coolness, kept moving up, making straight 
for the bridge. The uproar of the two battles, not 
over three hundred yards apart, was at this moment 

cnuEUBusco. 121 

terrific. IS^othiug like it bad ever been heard ou 
the plains of Mexico, and the domes and towers of 
the city were crowded with men and women gazing 
off where the white and sulphurous clouds rolling up 
in the distance revealed the place of conflict. After 
an hour and a half of incessant fighting, Clarke's 
brigade at length reached the tete du jpont', the order 
to charge passed through the excited ranks, and with a 
loud shout, thej crowded across the ditch, stormed 
the parapets, and rushing furiously over the bridge 
streamed after the fugitives as they fled towards the 
capital. Twiggs heard the thunder of battle rolling 
away from him, and he knew the bridge was carried, 
and that the victorious division of Worth was chasing 
the enemy before it, and he resolved it should not 
be the last victory of that day. He had stood for two 
hours and a half under the murderous fire of the 
batteries, and by directing them on himself, saved 
Worth from destruction. 

Santa Anna, seeing how the battle was going, 
suddenly poured four thousand infantry, and three 
thousand cavalry on the brigades of Pierce and 
Shields. Here were no defences, and it seemed im- 
possible that these two brigades could stand the 
weight of such overpowering masses. But these 
rifles "had been baptized in fire and blood," and 
their quick, deadly fire empted saddles with frightful 



The New York and South Carolina volunteers 
vieing with each other in heroic daring and steady 
courage, bore up against these heavy onsets with the 
firmness of veterans, and pouring themselves in 
tumultuous shouts on the enemy, swept them again 
and again from their batteries. They melted away 
like the morning mist, but still shoulder to shoulder 
they moved unflinchingly through the storm. The 
road was packed and piled with the dead, and that 
curtain of brave men, which alone kept Santa 
Anna's masses from falling on the already exhausted 
Twiggs, was rent into fragments, — still, with such a 
leader as Shields, they could not be beaten. Brave, 
resolute, and with a tenacity of will nothing but 
death could shake, he moved amid his men a tower 
of strength. Once surrounded, he told his troops to 
charge through the hostile ranks. They obeyed, 
rending the line asunder as though it had been a 
band of straw. 

Scott saw the peril of this brave commander, and 
the regiments of Ransom, Wood, and Morgan were 
successively hurried to his aid. One after another 
they came at the jpas de charge^ and shouting cheer- 
fully to their hard beset comrades, went rolling like 
loosened cliffs on the foe. Shields heard their shouts 
with joy, for his brave Carolinian and New York 
volunteers were fast filling their glorious graves. 
The gallant Butler fell cheering on his men, and for 


a long time Twiggs listened to this incessant and 
tremendous firing in his rear with the deepest 

Santa Anna was making a desperate effort to re- 
trieve the losses of the morning, and again and again 
bore fiercely down with the flower of the Mexican 
cavalry on the diminutive force that so steadily beat 
back his legions. But no defeat was to mar that day 
so gloriously begun ; and Santa Anna was at length 
compelled to give way. 

The veteran Twiggs, drawing his girdle of fire still 
closer and closer around that hacienda, at length car- 
ried it sword in hand, and Eincon's army streamed 
after the other fugitives towards Mexico. The dead 
and the dying were left in their gore, and the tide 
of battle swept fiercely away towards the capital. 
That causeway was dark with men, and fluttering 
with standards, while white spots of smoke in the dis- 
tance, and the far off roll of cannon, and faintly heard 
shouts told that the work of death was not yet done. 

The gay and brilliant uniform of the Mexican 
lancers as they galloped frantically in long columns 
along the causeway over their own infantry, present- 
ed a striking contrast to the dark, compact body of 
American dragoons that pressed on their flying traces. 
It was a wild, exciting scene. The blood of those bold 
dragoons was up, and they never pulled rein till they 
reached the gates of Mexico. 


The American bugle, sounding the recall under 
the walls of the capital, was ominous of evil. 
Kearney, with one arm shattered, then led his troop 
back over the field of slaughter. Nine thousand 
Americans had trampled under foot thirty thousand 
Mexicans. The field presented a ghastly spectacle. 
Friend and foe lay side by side, while cries of distress 
and moans arose in every direction. The earth had 
been soaked with the blood of brave men, on whose 
cold dull ears, the triumphant shouts of regiment after 
regiment as they returned from the pursuit, fell unheed- 
ed. What a day this had been, and what a scene the 
sun in his course had looked upon. His rising beams 
flashed on the crimson summit of Contreras ; his 
noonday splendor failed to pierce the war cloud that 
shrouded the tens of thousands struggling in mortal 
combat around Churubusco, and now his departing 
rays, as he stooped behind the Cordilleras, fell on a 
mournful field of slaughter. But they kissed in their 
farewell the American standard fluttering from every 
summit and tower, where in the morning the Mexi- 
can cross greeted his coming. 

What a contrast did the two nights present. At 
sunset the day before, the American soldiers had suf- 
fered defeat, and were desponding ; to-night, they were 
frantic with joy and exultation. Scott, cut off from 
half his troops, who, discouraged, sad, and sorrowful, 
and drenched to the skin, stood at midnight under the 


batteries at Contreras ; and Scott riding through his 
gallant army, that rent the heavens with acclamations, 
is hardly the same man. Four brilliant victories in 
one day, and every strong defence but one between 
him and the capital broken down, lifted a weight from 
his heart, the pressure of which no one had known. 
And as he now rode up to the thinned and blackened 
regiments, he addressed them by turn in enthusiastic 
praise. He called them his brave comrades, and as 
they crowded around to seize his hand, told them they 
had covered their country's flag with glory. He loves 
the brave, and as he passed along, his very face was 
eloquent with feeling. This open and unbounded 
commendation, raised to the last pitch of excitement 
the already enthusiastic troops, and their shouts and 
acclamations shook the very plain on which they 
stood. The brave old Eincon leaned from the balcony 
of the church he had so gallantly defended, and 
though a prisoner, gazed with undisguised delight on 
this manifestation of unbounded love for their leader. 
He could not escape the contagion of the enthiTsiasm, 
and loved his captors better for their devotion to their 
noble commander. Soldiers will ever love such a 
chief, and such a chief will ever be worshipped by his 
soldiers. Scott had good reason to be proud of his 
army. Since morning they had stormed and taken 
Contreras, the bridge and citadel of Churubusco, cap- 
tured San Antonia, and beaten Santa Anna in the 


open field. Such a day's work was never done by 
nine thousand men before. As one looked on those 
heavy batteries, and almost impregnable defences, it 
seemed impossible that they had all been carried 
within twelve hours. But a few more such days 
would annihilate the American army. A thousand 
men had fallen, and among them nearly eighty ofiicers. 
The American uniform was sprinkled thick around 
those grim batteries ; and victories that cost him a 
ninth part of his men killed and wounded, would soon 
leave Scott destitute. He was nearly three hundred 
miles from Yera Cruz, with only eight thousand un- 
wounded men around him. With this comparative 
handful, he was yet to carry a still more impregnable 
fortress and the capital itself. He thought of those 
things on that night of triumph. But the weary army, 
flushed with victory, dreamed only of greater triumphs 
to come. The thunder of battle had ceased ; the 
carnage and strife were done ; and the living and the 
dead slept side by side on the field where they had 
struggled. The uproar of the day gave way to the 
silence of night, l^ature, taking no note of man's in- 
human strifes, wore the same tranquil look as ever, 
and the breath of summer fanned lowland and upland 
as gently as though no groaning men cumbered the 
field. The stars came out on the sky, and shed their 
pure radiance on the blackened batteries and crimson 
intrenchmentSj keeping watch all that peaceful night 


with the sentry as he walked his weary rounds. The 
flags that had been carried so resistlessly through the 
storm of battle, drooped adown their staves, — emblmes 
of victory all unheeded now by the fiery sleepers be- 
neath. The day had opened and closed in blood and 
slaughter, yet the night showed no change. Far awa}'", 
along the green valleys and hill sides of this free 
land, were fathers, and mothers, and brothers, and 
sisters, and wives, who little knew how laden with 
sorrrow that bright summer day had been to them. 
How inscrutable are the designs of heaven, and how 
unthinkingly men carry them out. Scott, who had 
seen enough of carnage, wrote after this dreadful day, 
" enough blood has been shed in this unnatural war ;" 
and to all thinking men, it seemed a wicked and use- 
less waste of life. The former it doubtless was ; of the 
latter, we are not so sure. 

Yictories are no longer mere indications of prowess 
and strength. Linked together as nations now are, 
they tell on civilization and on the destiny of the 
world. The authors of this war are without excuse, 
but what necessary link it may form in the chain ot 
human events no one is able to determine. It in the 
first place saved West Point Academy, which in the 
end may save the republic, and doubtless, will save 
more men than fell between Yera Cruz and Mexico. 
It gave us a position in Europe, and thus strength- 
ened the hopes of freedom everywhere. It gave us 

l28 wmriELD scott. 

also authority in a country where we then thought we 
had no interest ; but where now we see we have 
much. It removed (and we trust forever) the absurd 
and insane idea, that educated officers were not 
needed in this country — that from the masses would 
spring able generals like mushrooms after a rain. It 
has inspired respect abroad and confidence at home, 
by showing the real strength of the nation. That 
little army sleeping almost under the walls of Mexi- 
co, has at least turned over a new leaf in the book 
of history, if not for good then for evil. 

The next morning Scott while moving to Coyhoa- 
can was met by commissioners from Santa Anna, 
proposing an armistice. He replied that he was 
willing to accede to one, and they would find him 
that night at Tacubaya. The road thither passed 
within reach of the batteries of Chapultepec, and 
the commissioners told him if he would delay his 
march a few hours, orders would be issued to pre- 
vent him and his escort from being fired upon. 
Scott thanked them for their kindness, but with his 
hundred dragoons boldly proceeded on his way, and 
slept that night in the Archiepiscopai palace of 
Mexico, and in full view of the domes and towers of 
the capital. It is thought that at this time he could 
have prevented another battle by assailing the city 
with shells. Bat the carnage woald be frightful in 
that crowded population, and he humanely listened 


to the first overtures for peace. This humanitj", 
however, in the end cost him his bravest troops. 

The administration in power at this time did 
nothing but heap blunder on blunder in their efibrts 
to conduct the war. The insane project of placing* 
a lieutenant-general over Scott, was followed by 
one not so despicable but equally absurd — the ap- 
pointment of an agent to treat with the Mexican 
powers. The mere fact announced atPuebla, excited 
thecontemptof theofiicers, and inflated the Mexicans 
with arrogance. Having sent an army of invasion 
into Mexico it should have empowered the com- 
mander-in-chief alone to treat with its rulers, until 
regular commissioners had been appointed to nego- 
tiate a peace away from the field of battle. But it 
seemed fated that nothing but the gallantry of the 
American army should redeem the errors in 
which this "unnatural war" had commenced. 
There was justice at least in this, for neither the 
merit or blame has ever been or will be divided. 
The crime rests with the administration, the glory 
with the army. 


Tbe Armistice— Scott resolves to carry Chapultepec by storm — Descriiition of 
the Fortress— Battle of Molino Del Eey — The field sfter the victory — The con- 
dition and prospects of the Army at this time — Misbehaviour of the Government 
— Defence of Scott — His plan for assaulting Chapultepec — Day preceding (ha 
Battle— The final attack. 

Foe nearly three weeks Scott and his patient little 
array sat down in full view of Mexico, waiting the 
movements of Mr. Trist and the Mexican Coramis- 
sioners. This project of sending an agent two thou- 
sand miles distant, to present a treaty either before or 
after a battle, — claiming the right to arrest and delay 
the movements of an army, at a time when the Com- 
mander-in-chief might deem it of the utmost import- 
ance to advance, was another folly in that series of 
follies which had characterized the whole course of 
the administration from the commencement of the 

Scott, however, did not remain idle. In the first 
place, twenty-nine deserters taken in the citadel of 
Churubusco were tried by court-martial. Fighting 


with a halter about their necks, they had fought like 
demons, doing more execution than a whole regiment 
of Mexicans. Sixteen of these wretches were hung, 
and their blackened corpses left to swing in the wind, 
a terrible example to traitors. The city, in the mean 
time, was carefully studied, and every plan for secur- 
ing its downfall thoroughly weighed and examined. 
But his position, notwithstanding the great victories 
achieved, was perilous in the extreme. Cut off from 
all resources, with an army of more than thirty thou- 
sand men, and a fortified city of two hundred thou- 
sand inhabitants before him, he surveyed his little 
army of eight thousand men with an anxious heart. 
He could rely on them, for he had tried them. But 
one day of disaster would shake it sadly. To retreat 
after a severe defeat would be impossible. The terror 
of his arms alone kept down the inhabitants. "With 
that gone, the swarming population would gather in 
endless thousands around his path, and the Mexican 
cavalry trample down his enfeebled battalions from 
the capital to "Vera Cruz Like Taylor at Buena 
Yista, it was victory or ruin with him. 

Anticipating failure in the negotiations, he had, 
after a close examination of the various modes of 
assaulting the capital, adopted a plan of operations, 
which he resolved to commence the moment the 
armistice should close. There were eight different 
avenues to the city in its entire circuit, terminating 


in five gates, each of which constituted a small fort, 
where a few men and cannon could resist almost any 
force brought against it. Around a part of the city 
stretched an impassable morass, crossed by long 
causeways, commanded by batteries from the walls, 
and also by the castle of Chapultepec. Around the 
other portion stretched a wide canal, which it would 
be necessary to bridge under the enemy's fire. But 
could all these obstacles be overcome, there remained 
the fortress of Chapultepec, overlooking and com- 
manding the city, so that if the American army were 
once within, they could not hold it should the 
Mexicans resolve to bombard their own capital. 
But with Chapultepec in his power, Scott would have 
the town under his guns, and it must fall. He, there- 
fore, resolved to assail it, notwithstanding the almost 
impregnable fortifications that defended it. But with 
a less skilful commander than he, or with a less 
gallant army that closed resolutely around him, its 
conquest would have been impossible. It was sur- 
rounded at the base by a high massive wall ; its 
sides were spotted with forts and walls ; and from 
its top, a hundred and fifty feet high, arose the 
castle, with its wings, bastions, parapets, and redoubts, 
all surmounted by a splendid dome, that flashed 
proudly in the clear sunlight. Around this castle ran 
two strong walls, ten or fifteen feet high, over which 
the troops must climb before they could effect an 


entrance. The whole frowning top was covered with 
heavy cannon defended by an array of thirty thousand 
men. Only on one side could this precipitous rock 
be scaled ; the western, towards the city. This was 
clothed with a heavy forest : but at the base were two 
fortified positions, Molino del Rey, or the King's 
Mill, a thick stone building with towers, and Casa de 
Mata, another massive stone building, the two stand- 
ing about four hundred yards apart. In this admir- 
able position, Santa Anna had placed an army four- 
teen thousand strong; its two extremities resting on 
these fortified structures, and his centre protected 
by a heavy battery. This force, stretching four hun- 
dred yards, from building to building, broken by only 
the field battery in the centre, presented an imposing 

Thus stood matters on the Tth, when the armistice 
was broken off. Mr. Trist had demanded all that 
disputed country between Nueces and the Rio Grande, 
the whole of 'New Mexico and upper and lower Cali- 
fornia. The Mexican commissioners presented a 
counter project, differing widely from this basis. 
After much discussion, however, they acceded to 
all Mr. Trist's claims, with the exception of cedino- 
the south part of New Mexico to the United States.* 

* They refused to cede the territory between Nueces and the Ric 
Grande ; but were willing it should remain unoccupied by either na- 
tion—neutral territory. 



By what process the administration obtained a right 
to this territory has not yet transpired unless by 
right of conquest, which from the first was disclaimed. 
Scott perhaps might have submitted to this trifling a 
iittle longer, had not the representatives of Mexico, 
Jalisco and Zacatecas issued a protest against the 
negociations and the secretary of state, a circular to 
the states of Puebla and Mexico, calling for a levy 
en masse^ " in order that they may attack and harass 
the enemy with whatever weapons each may con- 
veniently procure, whether good or bad, by fire or 
sword, and by every practicable means which it is 
possible to employ, in the annihilating of an invading 
army." It was evidently high time that Scott was 
bestirring himself; and luckily for the army Mr. 
Trist had the good sense to see the unbounded folly 
of the administration, and to fall in with the views 
of the commander-in-chief. This was a catastrophe 
that had not been looked for at home, and completed 
the political blunder, out of which had grown such a 
terrible tragedy. 

On the Yth of September, Scott had resolved to 
storm the city of Mexico, and make peace within its 


But Chapultepec, with its strong defences, must 
first be carried. Preparatory to the final movement 


on the heights and castle, it was necessary to de- 
molish Santa Anna, with his fourteen thousand men 
at the base. General Worth was appointed on this 
perilous enterprise, and whether his reconnaissance 
could not have been more thorough than it was, or 
whether he unfortunately considered it complete 
and satisfactory, at all events he was ignorant of the 
true strength of the position, until his torn and 
mangled division revealed it to him. It was a des- 
perate undertaking to attempt, in broad daylight, 
with a little over three thousand men, to carry those 
stone buildings, batteries, and all, defended by four- 
teen thousand troops. But Worth, like Murat, 
rarely counted his foes, and on the night of the Yth 
divided his force into three columns, with a reserve 
under Cadwallader, to act where it should be most 
needed. The right column, under Garland, received 
orders to march on the mill. A storming party of 
only five hundred men, commanded by Major 
Wright, was to commence the attack by falling sud- 
denly on the field battery in the centre, while the 
2d brigade, under M'Intosh, was to move on Casa 
de Mata. 

Sumner, with his dragoons, hovered on the Ame- 
rican left. Scott had given orders to have the 
attack made if possible before daylight. Tliis, how- 
ever, was not done, although the columns were in 
motion by three o'clock in the morning. Captain 


Huger had been directed to place liis battery of twen- 
ty-four pounders, so as to cover Garland's advance, 
and divert the fire from the batteries of Chapulte- 
pec. As soon as daylight sufiiciently revealed 
objects, he commenced a terrible cannonade on the 
mill. His heavy shot tore through its solid walls 
with such effect, that the position was soon shaken. 
The storming party, under Major Wright, then 
dashed forward on the field battery. Midway they 
were met by a most horrible and destructive fire 
from the artillery. Taking it without flinching, they 
with shouts pressed forward and actually carried the 
battery. The enemy seeing with amazement what 
a handful of men were in their midst, rallied, and 
by the mere weight of their masses, forced this gal- 
lant little band back. In a moment the whole line 
of infantry poured in their volleys, and for an instant 
it seemed as if the earth had swallowed up every 
man. Eleven^ out of the fourteen officers who com- 
manded it, were shot down, and the stunned and 
shattered column, staggered back. But disdaining 
to be the first of all that noble army to fly, it stood 
and bled on the field it could not win, till Captain 
Kirby Smith, with a light battalion, and part of 
Cadwallader's brigade, came to the rescue. The 
two forces joined with shouts and hastily forming, 
drove with resistless power on the battery, and took 
it. The Mexican line was thus severed, and the 

garland's charge. 13Y 

battle resolved itself into two distinct actions 
around the two buildings. Garland's column now 
took up its marcli for the mill, which seemed on fire 
from the blaze of its own guns. That fearless and 
fiery artillerist. Captain Drum, with two pieces, 
moved at its head, while above them the twenty- 
four pound shot of Magruder, swept with fearful 
accuracy on the building. The huge black balls 
could be traced in their flight, and the dull heavy 
sound of their concussion was heard even amid tho 
deafening explosions that shook the field. Drum 
seemed to bear a charmed life, and moved amid his 
guns with a buoyancy and excitement that presented 
a strange contrast to the carnage around him. The 
advance was slow and toilsome, for that slight bat- 
tery had to contend against overwhelming odds, 
and its progress guaged the progress of the col- 
umn. Covering the infantry, it had to make a path 
for it to the very walls of the mill. Garland cheer- 
ing on his troops, watched with the deepest anxiety 
the effect of its fire, for should it be silenced, he 
would be compelled to match over the wreck of his 
guns and push the naked, uncovered head of his col- 
umn sternly up to the very muzzles of the Mexican 
cannon, or retreat. He did not mean that any con- 
tingency should force him to the latter alternative, 
for when the moment of decision arrived, he had re- 
solved to charge with the bayonet over barricades, 


guns, gunners, and all. At length wearied with the 
effort to carry forward his column in the face of such 
a destructive fire, he, while Drum was advancing his 
pieces, called a drummer, and bade him set down 
his drum as a seat on which he could for a moment 
rest. At the instant a grape shot struck the cap 
from his head. Had he been standing erect, it would 
have passed through his body, and one more name 
been added to the long list of heroes whose bones 
repose in the plains of Mexico. 

At length, under the concentrated and overwhelm- 
ing fire of the Mexican batteries, every gunner be- 
longing to Drum's pieces was killed or wounded. 
He then called on the infantry to supply their places, 
but not a man would give up his musket. Tlirough 
fire and blood he had toiled his way to the spot 
where the bayonet must decide the conflict, and he 
would not yield his weapon at the moment he most 
needed it. But those guns must be served, for every 
shot was worth a regiment of men in demolishing 
the defences before them. They were, at length, 
rolled to within a hundred yards of the Mexican 
batteries, where they played with a rapidity and 
power nothing could withstand. Yet when they 
reached that fearful proximity, every artillerist he- 
svde them was a West Point officer. Seeing the guns 
deserted, and seeing too the vital importance of their 
being steadily worked, these brave and noble young 


officers left their commands and turned common 
artillerists, under tlie murderous fire that had cleared 
every gun of its man. The example told on the 
soldiers. Behind a battery worked by their own 
officers, men will march on death itself; and no 
sooner was the order to charge given, than clearing 
every obstacle that opposed their progress, they 
stormed that mill and its defences with resistless 
valor, and carried them. The Mexicans were driven 
from their stronghold, and the shout proclaiming 
another victory rolled up the rocky sides of Chapul- 
tepec. Oh, if the nation knew how those "lazy, 
book-educated officers " of West Point led that gal- 
lant little army from victory to victory, they would 
guard this institution and defend its honor with a 
zeal and energy that would palsy the hand lifted 
against it. 

As the fearless Garland listened to the shouts that 
rung from that battered mill-house, he hoped his 
brave troops would never have another such a task 
assigned them. 

But while the central battery had been carried, 
and the assault on the mill been pressed with such 
resistless vigor, a still more deadly combat had 
raged around the Casa de Mata. Tlie troops assign- 
ed to the assault of this building did not get under 
way till the sun had reached the horizon. The 
scene which his light then revealed was sufficient to 


daunt tlie stoutest heart. The ground leading up 
to the building, with its bastions and ditches, was 
like a smooth open lawn. Not a tree or shrub fur- 
nished shelter to a storming party. The base of the 
intrenchments was lined with the cactus, whose point- 
ed leaves, tipped with dew, sparkled in the sun- 
beams, appearing like ten times ten thousands 
lance points flashing in the light. Behind them 
full five thousand men stood in battle array, while 
the artillery swept every foot of the smooth green 
sward. It did not seem possible that troops could 
be carried over that exposed plain in the face of 
such batteries. M'Intosh, however, formed his 
men, and proceeded by Duncan's battery, moved 
boldly towards the building. Duncan's guns were 
served with great skill and effect, and vomiting 
forth fire and death, steadily advanced. But the 
unsheltered condition of the troops rendered them a 
fair mark for the enemy, while the latter, behind 
ditches and walls, were effectually protected. The 
ranks, however, closed firmly as the grape and 
canister-shot made huge gaps through them. But 
they were fast melting away, and demanded to be 
led to the charge. The command was given. Past 
Duncan's battery, and over that plain, the madden- 
ed battalions swept like a storm, till they at last 
stood front to front with the enemy. Here they 
were stopped by the strong defences, of which, till 


then they had been ignorant. In vain they made des- 
perate efforts to push over them against the tremen- 
dous force upon the opposite side — to retreat was 
worse than death. The spectacle at this moment 
was frightful. Those brave regiments, without a 
bush to shelter them, standing breast to breast, and 
muzzle to muzzle, with a well sheltered foe out- 
numbering them five to one, was a sight to move 
the bravest heart. Duncan's battery was behind 
them, and could no longer fire, while the enemy's 
artillery kept hurling its loads of grape-shot in their 
midst. There was no cessation to the volleys — 'Uo 
interval in the explosions. There was no fall- 
ing back and rallying to another charge. The 
doomed battalions never shook or faltered, but 
sunk where they stood, unconquered to the last. 
Thus, for two hours did they stand on that open field 
without shrinking. Ko such firing had ever before 
been witnessed in the army. It was one continuous, 
rattling, deafening, thunder-peal, of two hours dura- 
tion. Wrapped in clouds of their own making, out 
of which their shouts of defiance rose, the Ameri- 
cans fought that hopeless battle with a fury and 
desperation, more than human. The carnage was 
awful. At length their heroic commander was shot 
down. Scott and Waite soon followed him, and the 
officers in command, tired of the murderous work, fell 
back to give room for Duncan's battery to play 


again, and that thunder-peal was for a moment 

While these brave men were in the midst of this 
unparalleled fire, a column of lancers, several thou- 
sand strong, came sweeping down to crush them by a 
sudden charge on their flank. But Duncan, whose 
guns were now idle, saw the storm that was about to 
burst on them, and ordering the horses to his pieces 
swept in a gallop over the field towards the advancing 
column. The moment he got in good grape and 
canister range, he unlimbered and poured in such 
a rapid and scourging fire that it wheeled and fled, 
pressed hard by Sumner's cavalry. 

'No sooner did the storming column, by retiring, 
unmask Duncan's guns, than they again opened 
on the building. The troops then rallied ; 
rushed forward and crowding over the ditches, drove 
the enemy before them. The victory was won, but 
alas ! at what a sacrifice. That bright green sward 
was loaded with bodies, and crimson with blood. 
One regiment of six hundred had left nearly every 
other man upon it. As the smoke of battle slowly 
lifted, before the morning sun, those two black and 
battered buildings, around which there had been such 
a death struggle, looked strangely grim and savage, 
amid the piles of dead bodies at their base. Brave men 
lay weltering in blood, or reclining on their elbows, 
were faintly calling for help. Hundreds borne on 


litters, or leaning on their comrades' shoulders, as they 
limped slowly away, were seen moving across the 
field. Mangled forms and pallid countenances met 
the beholder at every turn, for in that line of 
four-hundred yards nearly eight hundred Americans 
had fallen, or one-fourth of the whole division en- 
gaged. The Mexicans had fought desperately. Leon, 
their bravest general, and some of their best officers 
were killed. Scott, as he rode over the field was 
filled with grief at the terrible slaughter, by which 
the victory had been gained. He had not anticipated 
it, and feared that an earlier attack or a more 
thorough reconnaissance might have prevented it. 
He went into the hospital and visited the wounded, 
and as he saw fifty brave officers lying before him, 
he felt how much he had been weakened. He had, 
however, a word of encouragement and kindness for 
each. It was his custom as he rode over the field 
of battle to pause and give his canteen to some poor 
sufferer who stood in greater need than others, or 
whisper a promise to a gallant young officer, fi*om 
whose side the red drops were trickling. His care 
of the sick and wounded was of the tenderest kind, 
and those who had gazed with pride and veneration 
on him in battle, loved him as a father, when 
wounded and suffering they saw him stooping over 
their couches in the hospital. 
The base of Chapultepec was now in possession ol 


the American army ; but commanded as it was by 
the guns of the fort, the position could not be held. 
Casa de Mata was, therefore, blown up, and the mill 
rendered useless. Chapultepec was next to be assailed ; 
and yet, after deducting the sick, wounded, and the 
different garrisons, Scott had a force of but little over 
seven thousand men with which to do it. If he should 
be weakened in proportion to the numbers engaged 
and the difficulties to be encountered, as much as he 
had been at Molino del Key, but a handful of men 
would be left him to conquer Mexico. These repeated 
victories were telling frightfully on that unparalleled, 
army, whose fate must be sealed before reinforcements 
could reach it. Nothing can reveal the utter ineffi- 
ciency, nay, downright madness of the administration, 
more than the position of that army at this moment. 
Yictorious in every engagement, it fiow gathered 
around the last great obstacle that lay between it and 
Mexico. The impregnable character of the fortress, 
defended as it was by thirty thousand men, and 
covered wath heavy artillery, rendered its capture so 
difficult, that in the attempt the army would in all 
probability suffer more severely than in any of the 
battles it had hitherto fought. The most sanguine 
could not expect six thousand unwounded men, even 
if victors, to remain after the assault. Six thousand 
men, nearly three hundred miles from their ships, 
without depots or garrisons on the way, a city of near 


a quarter of a million before them, and defended by 
twenty-five thousand troops, presented a noble^ yet 
fearful spectacle. But who placed them in such a 
perilous position ? By whose neglect was the most 
gallant army that ever trod a battle-field so seriously 
endangered ? Where were the reinforcements that 
should have poured in by thousands long before that 
little band gathered with undaunted hearts under the 
crags of Chapultepec? The ineflSciency of a Com- 
mander-in-chief, unlooked for and overwhelming de- 
feats, disasters growing out of treachery or cowardice, 
may seriously compromise an army, and yet the 
government be blameless. Events that could not be 
foreseen, and hence not be guarded against, might 
leave it involved and reduced, as that under Scott now 
was. With fifty thousand men at his back, he, by his 
inefliciency or mistakes might easily have done it. 
£ut he could not he in the condition he was^ without 
hlame resting on some one. Keglect on the part of the 
government that was criminal, or blunders on the 
part of the Commander-in-chief almost equally crimi- 
nal, had brought on thiff crisis. But, did the blame 
rest with Scott? had he lost a battle? had he wantonly 
sacrificed his men ? had his losses been unexpectedly 
large ? had his army been wasted away by neglect of 
the sick and wounded, or want of provisions and care 
for the well ? Could he, with the means in \)Ss>jpoweT^ 

ha/ve he&n better off them he was ? No ! Fortunately 


the facts on this point are so overwhelming, that every 
man is compelled to answer, No. Every victory but 
one at least, had been purchased at the least possible 
sacrifice. Fortresses had been taken and armies 
beaten at a loss numerically so small as to be almost 
incredible. The skill, genius, and humanity of the 
commander had stood in the place of men. They had 
supplied the want of regiments in every battle. IS^o 
other living man could have carried that army so far, 
over so many obstacles, through so many unequal 
conflicts, and yet drawn it up at the base of Chapul- 
tepee so little weakened in numbers or demoralized 
in character. 

The government had no right to expect such re- 
sults — it might as well have based the campaign on 
probable miracles. ISTo, a careful and accurate man, 
one whose judgment could be relied on, would say 
that by the most favorable calculation, Scott could 
not get that army where it was without the loss, in 
killed and wounded, of at least eight thousand men, 
and that loss would have finished him. By the rules 
of every military campaign, he ought to have been 
ruined, and his army annihilated. The country had 
no more right to expect success with sucb means 
than the Frencli Directory had of Bonaparte, when 
it put him over the half-starved and miserable army 
of Italy. The American army ought, according to 
all reliable rules, to have perished, and nothing but 


the great qualities of a single man saved it. If it 
had perished, a malediction would have fallen on 
the administration, which, like "the primal eldest 
curse," would have clung to it for ever. 

These remarks are made in no feeling of party 
spirit, but the reckless manner in which that army 
was left in the heart of Mexico, demands as a sim- 
ple act of justice condemnation from every man 
who attempts to chronicle its victories. The lives 
of our chivalrous volunteers, our tried regulars, and 
our noble officers, are not thus to be trifled with. 
The army of this Republic is too valuable to be lost 
in mere political squabbles, or from culpable igno- 
rance. This fact cannot be urged too earnestly on the 
country. The President being the Commander-in- 
chief of all the forces, the army of course is under 
his control. But the President is usually unac- 
quainted with military science, and easily yields to 
the suggestions of his friends, or appoints ignorant 
commanders, or adopts unmilitary plans that are 
certain to bring defeat. His patronage in the army, 
and the political use he can make of it, tempt him to 
many foolish and wicked acts. And even if he be a 
true patriot like Jefferson, or Madison, he is almost 
sure to err as they did. Madison, in 1812, wished 
to shut up our ships of war, in port, against all the 
remonstrances of their brave commanders. In that 
war, success was gained in spite of the administra- 


tion. The trutii is, in a government like ours, where 
the Secretaries of War and Navy are changed almost 
every four years, and those important departments 
become filled with men from the civil professions; 
who are necessarily ignorant of the duties attached 
to them, they should both, so far as their organiza 
*"ion and management are concerned, be placed 
:.nder the control of their respective senior com- 
manders. Public opinion should demand this as a 
settled policy, and every deviation of it by either 
party, be denounced and resisted. This political 
intermeddling with the army and navy, for the sake 
of popularity, will yet be visited on the nation with 
disgrace and defeat. 

Scott, as we have seen, at length stood at the base 
of Chapultepec, with seven thousand men, resolved to 
carry it by storm, and then wheel his conquering 
battalions full on the capital, and beat down its gates 
while the shouts of victory were still carrying terror 
and dismay into the ranks of the enemy. By the 
1st of September the hill had been boldly and 
thoroughly reconnoitred, every assailable point noted 
down, and the route of the assaulting columns 
marked out. At the same time, to deceive the ene- 
my, and prevent reinforcements from being flung 
into the fortress, he ordered Pillow, Quitman, and 
Twiggs, to advance along the causeway from San 
Antonia, and open their fire on the gates of the city. 


He tlius kept Santa Anna in ignorance of his real 
point of attack, and the latter at once concentrated a 
large force in the city to resist the entrance of the Ame- 
rican troops, whose standards were pointing towards 
its walls. Consternation and dismay reigned amid 
the crowded population ; the streets were thronged 
with terror-stricken men and women, who sup- 
posed this terrific cannonading was but the preludh^ 
to the final assault, and momentarily expected to 
hear the shouts of the Americans as they stormed 
over their defences. 

But as night came on, Quitman and Pillow with 
their divisions, stole quietly back to Tacubaya, where 
Scott, with Worth's division had established his head- 


All was bustle and preparation at the base of Cha- 
pultepec. Four heavy batteries were planted in 
easy range of the fortress, to be ready by daylight to 
play against its solid sides and upon its frowning 
ramparts. !N"o. 1, commanded by Captain Drum, 
was placed within six hundred yards of the castle. 
Ko. 2, under Captain Huger took position a little 
farther off, while IsTos. 3 and 4, commanded by Capt, 
Brock, Lieutenants Anderson and Stone, were placed, 
the former half way between Tacubaya and Molino 
del Rey, and the latter near the mill itself. The 


object of these was to weaken those strong de- 
fences and open up some accessible avenues to the 
assaulting columns. By daylight they were all 
ready, and the heavy shot of the first gun knocked 
loudly on the portals of that fortress for admission, 
and called the astonished garrison to their pieces. 
In a few moments the whole, composed of eighteen 
and twenty-four pounders, and eight inch mortars, 
were in " awful activity," and when the early sun- 
beams gilded the splendid dome that crowned the 
height, they revealed many an ugly rent and ragged 
outline in the massive structure. 

Every shot could be traced in its flight, while its 
heavy concussion sent back the report of its own do- 
ings. Shells rising gracefully out of the smoke, 
swiftly ascended the hill, and hovering a moment 
above the doomed garrison, dropped, blazing within. 
Fragments of wall and timber hurled through the air, 
announced that its work was accomplished. The 
enemy replied with all his heavy artillery, and soon 
the air was black with balls, and above them the 
heavens ablaze with burning shells. At the same 
time, Twiggs was thundering away at the gates of 
the city — explosion answered explosion, till the 
deafening reverberations were sent back from the 
distant Cordilleras. From daylight till dark the 
batteries never ceased playing. Since the army left 
Vera Cruz there had been no such opportunity to 


exliibit our artillery practice. The way those heavy 
guns were handled excited the admiration of the 
whole army. As soon as the distance and elevation 
were accurately gained, scarcely a shot was thrown 
away. Every one went with the precision of a riRe 
ball, and passed through and through the walls, 
spreading destruction in its path. Scarcely a shell 
wasted its force in the air, but tore up the rampartg 
as it dropped. The garrison, except those necessary 
to man the guns, were driven from the works by this 
incessant and deadly firing, and remained outside, 
towards the city. Here they stood to arms all day, 
ready the moment the firing ceased to return and re- 
pel the assault. At nightfall, Scott seeing that the 
fortress was severely shaken, prepared to storm it 
in the morning. That was a busy night, and but 
little sleep visited either officers or men, and by 
daylight on the morning of the 13th the separate 
divisions were all in their places. Scott had resolved 
to storm the heights in two columns — one, com- 
manded by Pillow, was to advance on the west side ; 
the other, by Quitman, on the southeast, each preced- 
ed by two hundred and fifty picked men. Worth's 
division received orders to act as a reserve, while 
Twiggs, away from the scene of action, was to keep 
playing on the gates of the city, and thus compel 
the portion of the enemy's army concentrated there 
to remain on the defensive. At daylight the Ameri- 


can batteries again opened their fire, and again the 
massive columns within the fortress were driven out. 
It was known throughout the army that the cessa- 
tion of the cannonadir;^ was to be the signal of as- 
sault. Every ear was therefore turned to catch the 
first lull in that incessant uproar, and every heart 
beat quicker as each explosion promised to be the 
last. But as hour after hour passed on, and the bat- 
teries still kept thundering on the heights, the im- 
patience of ofiicers and men threatened to over -leap 
all bounds. 

At length Scott sent word that the signal would 
soon be given, and at nine the sudden silence of the 
batteries announced that the hour had come. " For- 
ward," passed through the ranks, and those intrepid 
columns began the ascent. The moment they were 
in motion the batteries again opened, and canopied 
them with shots and shells, that went before to open 
the path to victory, and keep back the reinforce- 
ments without. Pillow's column entered the forest, 
which was in a blaze from the sharpshooters that 
filled it, and sweeping it of the enemy, emerged 
on to the open ground, and under a rocky height. 
Here Pillow fell, and the command devolved on 
the brave Cadwallader, who shouted " forward " to 
that eager column, and it streamed up the rock, 
taking the destrnctive volleys that thinned their 
ranks, without flinching. Half way between it and 


the castle walls stood a strong redoubt, wliose bat- 
teries played with deadly effect on its uncovered 
head. The ground that intervened was broken by- 
chasms and rocks, over which the troops slowly- 
made their difficult way, firing as they went. The 
rapid and fatal volleys of the two hundred and fifty 
men that moved in advance, swept everything 
down, and onward firmly and irresistibly crept the 
column. Reaching the redoubt in which mines had 
been placed to blow up the victors, they carried it in 
one swift and terrible charge. So sudden and rapid 
was the onset, and so complete the overthrow, that 
the enemy had no time to fire his mines, and those 
who attempted it were shot down. " There was 
death below as well as above ground," but nothing 
could resist the progress of that heroic column. Leav- 
ing that redoubt behind, it marched straight on the 
walls of the castle. Scott watched its advance through 
fire and smoke, with an anxious heart, till it at length 
reached the ditch. The spectacle it presented at this 
moment aroused all the latent fire of his nature. 
Halting a moment till the ditch could be filled with 
fascines, and the scaling ladders applied to the walls, 
it sternly stood, and melted away under the fire of 
the enemy. At length the chasm was bridged when 
the troops streamed over with shouts, and in a mo- 
ment the ladders were bending under the weight of 
those who seemed eager to be the first in the portals of 


death. Pierced with balls or bayonets, the leaders 
fell back dead upon their comrades, but nothing 
could check the ardor of those that followed after. 
Bearing back by main force those that opposed 
their ascent, they climbed to the top, made a lodg- 
ment, and sent up a thrilling shout. " Streams of 
heroes followed," sweeping like a sudden inundation 
over the walls. Cheer after cheer arose from the 
ramparts ; flag after flag was flung out from the up- 
per walls, carrying " dismay into the capital." 

Quitman, in the meantime, had made his way to 
the southeast walls, but being compelled to advance 
along a causeway, defended by artillery and in- 
fantry, he was delayed in carrying them till the 
routed enemy above came on him in crowds. The 
troops turned on those with relentless fury. Re- 
membering their brave comrades at Molino del Rey, 
to whom no quarter was given, they mowed the 
Mexicans down without mercy. The New York, 
South Carolina, and Pennsylvania volunteers, how- 
ever, by crossing a meadow, under a tremendous 
fire, and mounting swiftly to the castle, were in time 
for the assault. A detachment of New York volun- 
teers, under Lieutenant Ried, and another of 2d i i- 
fantry, led by Lieutenant Steele, were foremost on the 
ramparts. The former, cheering his men on, was 
the first to scale the heights and the wall. He was 
at length wounded, but refusing to retire, limped on 


his way, advancing still higher and higher towards 
the Mexican banner that waved above him. At 
length he reached it, and tearing it down with his 
own hands, fainted beside it. It was gallantly, 
nobly done. 

The spectacle presented to Scott as he turned with 
his staff to ascend the hill tilled his heart with jc^ 
and exultation. Those walls and ramparts which & 
few hours before bristled with the enemy's cannon, 
were now black with men, and fluttering with colors 
of his own regiments, while a perfect storm of hur- 
rahs, and cheers rolled towards heaven. As he passed 
up he saw his troops shooting down the helpless fu- 
gitives without mercy. He could not blame them, 
for he knew they were avenging the death of their 
brave comrades, to whom no mercy was shown at 
Molino del Rey, but unable to endure the inhuman 
spectacle, he rode up to the excited troops, and ex- 
claimed, " Soldiers, deeds like yours are recorded in 
history. £e humane and generous, nny hoys, as you 
are victorious, and I will get down on my hended 
hfiees to God for you, to-night.''^ ISToble and elo- 
quent words, which immediately found a response 
in those brave hearts. Mercy blended with strength 
is ever beautiful. 

As he reii^ed up on the summit in the view of all, 
ihe very hill shook under their acclamations. It 
«ras a time for exultation to him, and he shared in 


the high enthusiasm of his troops. He had conquer- 
ed — the day begun in anxiety was ending in glory. 
The capital was at his mercy, and as he stood on 
the top of that castle and looked off on the domes 
and towers of the city crowded with spectators, and 
down on the fugitive army fleeing towards its walls 
for shelter, he resolved at once to march on the gates 
and carry them by storm. Two causeways starting 
from the base of the hill, diverged as they crossed 
the marsh, and again contracted in approaching the 
city. Over these the Mexican host was streaming, 
infantry and artillery in wild confusion, pressed hard 
after by Worth and Quitman. But arches and gate- 
ways occurring at intervals, presented points for 
making vigorous stands against their advance, so 
that the battle had only rolled down the hill — 
not ended. 

Behind these, the Mexicans again and again ral- 
lied and fought bravely. Fighting under the walls 
of their capital, they struggled desperately to save 
it from becoming the spoil of the victor. "Worth 
pressed fiercely against the column before him, 
toward the San Cosmo gate, while Quitman was 
forcing his way along the San Belen aqueduct. 
To a spectator from the top of Chapultepec, the 
scene below at this time was indescribably fearful. 
The Americans appeared like a mere handful amid 
the vast crowds that darkened the causeways in 


front of tliem. But the clouds of smoke that wrapped 
the head of each column and the incessant explo- 
sions of cannon, revealed where the American artil- 
lery was sternly mowing a path through the swaying 
masses for the victorious troops behind. The living 
parapets were constantly falling along the edges of 
those causeways, while the shouts and yells of the 
struggling thousands rose up from the mingled din 
and crash of arms like the cries of a drowning mul- 
titude, heard amid the roar of the storm. Scott 
surveyed at a glance this wild scene and seeing 
what tremendous odds his brave troops below were 
contending against, hurried up reinforcements to 
their help. Officers were seen swiftly galloping 
from division to division, and soon Clarke's and 
Cadwallader's brigades moved rapidly over one 
causeway to the help of "Worth, while that of Pierce 
took the other, on which Quitman was struggling. 
Crushing every obstacle in their path, those columns 
slowly, but steadily advanced. As they came near 
the city where the causeways again approached each 
other. Worth sent an aid-de-camp to Scott, beggii^g 
that Quitman might cease firing on the Belen gate, 
and turn his artillery on the column he was pushing 
before him. A few raking discharges on its flank, 
would have rent it into frao-ments. Scott knowing 
that the San Cosmo gate presented the weakest de- 
fences, had determined to enter by it, and sent word 


again and again to Quitman to employ the enemy, 
rather than attempt to force the Bel en gate. But 
that brave officer had remained in idleness at San 
A-ugustine long enough, while the rest of the army 
was covering itself with laurels. The opportunity 
g'ven him in the morning was bereft of half its 
value by the necessary delay of his column, till the 
castle was carried ; and he was resolved that he would 
not be second in that last crowning battle. "Worth's 
victorious division should not open the gates for 
him from within, and through the deadly fires that 
smote him both from front and flank batteries, over 
every obstacle that opposed his progress, he still urged 
on his bleeding column till the gate was reached, 
when the gallant rifles dashed forward with a loud 
shout and carried it. The entrance was won and 
Quitman stood within the city. Here he stubbornly 
maintained his position from 2 o'clock in the after- 
noon till night, under a galling fire from the guns of 
the citadel. Defences were thrown up to shelter 
his valiant corps as much as possible from it, and he 
waited patiently till daylight should appear. He 
had lost some of his best troops, and among them 
those noble officers, Captain Drum, and Lieutenant 

Worth, in the meantime, had advanced steadily 
towards the San Cosmo gate. Scott, after having 
seen to the prisoners of war and the wounded, has- 
tened down the hill of Chapultepec and joined him 


in tlie hottest of the fire. Here, while in the act of 
handing an order to an officer, the horse of the lat- 
ter was shot bj his side. After giving directions to 
Worth, he returned to the foot of Chapultepec, and 
taking his station where the two causeways parted, 
directed the movements of both columns and sent 
forward help where it was most needed. By 
8 o'clock. Worth was in the suburbs, and there, 
around two batteries which he had carried, rested 
his exhausted troops for the night. 

Another night had come, giving repose to the 
weary soldier. The tumult and carnage of the day 
had ceased, and silence rested on the city, and our 
army under its walls. Quitman's troops sleeping in 
heaps under the arches of the causeway, and Worth's 
by the San Cosmo gate, presented a striking contrast 
to these same soldiers a few hours before. What a 
day's march that army had made, and what a track 
it had left behind it. Two paths, lined with the 
dead, marked its passage up the slippery heights of 
Chapultepec — scattered masses of the slain showed 
where the tumultuous flight and headlong pursuit 
had swept like a loosened flood down the slope, while 
the two causeways shattered and blackened, and 
streaked with blood, revealed the course its fiery 
footsteps had last taken in the road to victory. 
Nearly nine hundred of the Americans had been 
killed or wounded, while the Mexican dead lay in 
uncounted heaps on every side. 


It was an evening of rejoicing in that victo 
rious army, but liundreds were writhing in suffer- 
ing, and many a gallant spirit that at morning had 
seen glory and promotion before it, was now swiftly 
passing to that still land, where warrior and war- 
horse are seen no more. To them the joy and en- 
thusiasm on every side, added but more sorrowful 
regrets for all they had lost. Through so many 
perils they had moved in safety, to sink at last at 
the end of the race. Oh, how earthly glory fades 
at such a moment. Leaving aside the freezing spec- 
tacle of heaps of mutilated corpses — the ghastly 
wounds and moans of the sufferers, if those who 
slowly die after the battle is over, and its excite- 
ment has passed away, could tell us all their mental 
suffering — ^breathe into our ear their extinguished 
hopes — ^their vanished dreams of glory — let us see the 
inward scalding tears that drop over the absent loved 
and lost for ever — the sudden waking of conscience 
to a squandered life, and the anxious piercing glance 
into the dark unknown, whose shadows are slowly 
closing round the spirit, war would seem the saddest 
thing on earth. It is a blot on the race, and its evils 
caimot be magnified. But these evils, great as they 
are, do not lessen its necessity. While the world is 
governed by physical power, truth and justice will 
be compelled to resort to the sword to maintain theii 
rights , aye, to defend their very existence. Besides, 


death is the same, whether it comes on the battle-field, 
or sinking wreck, or amid the storm, or earthquake. 
A course of action is to be judged, not by the suffering 
attending it, but by the principles which govern and 
control it. That the Mexican war was forced on the 
country, without sufficient provocation, and secured 
nothing in comparison to the sacrifice it cost, few 
will doubt. The opinion of the world may be 
swayed, but the authors of that war will have a dif- 
ficult task to sway the calm verdict of eternal truth 
and justice. 

Many officers in the army, and the noble Com- 
mander-in-chief himself, felt the want of that support 
which the consciousness of a good cause gives to the 
true soldier. 

" Thrice is he armed that hath his quarrel just." 

The morning of the 14th of September had not yet 
fully dawned when the array was in motion. A 
deputation from the city council in the mean time 
waited on the Commander-in-chief, announcing that 
Santa Anna, with the remnant of his army, had fled 
the city, and demanded " terms of capitulation in 
favor of the church, city, and the municipal autho- 
rities." Scott refused to grant any terms ; the city 
was in his power ; he was resolved to enter it sword 
in hand, and plant his triumphant banner on its walla 
by the right of conquest alone. 


Sauta Anna, seeing that the capital was lost, had 
sent to him the night before, asking what terms he 
required. The latter curtly replied, that he had no 
answer to give, and no questions to ask. 

Slowly and cautiously, to guard against treachery, 
the columns proceeded in the early dawn towards the 
great public square. Quitman's division first ap- 
proached it, and his troops, rushing with shouts upon 
it, hoisted their flag on the walls of the ll^ational 
Palace. "Worth's division followed, and that little 
army of six thousand men stood in the heart of the 
capital, while long and deafening shouts proclaimed 
the joy of the conquerors. About nine o'clock a 
sudden bustle was seen in one corner of the square 
to which one of the streets led, and the next moment 
a long, loud hurrah broke forth. The troops had 
caught sight of the waving plumes and towering form 
of their Commander, slowly advancing in the midst of 
a body of cavalry. As he entered the plaza, the whole 
army shouted as one man. Again and again that 
loud, frenzied hurrah swelled over the city, and swords 
flashed in the air, and caps waved, and drums rolled. 
It was a wild, enthusiastic welcome, worthy of their 
chief, and his eye kindled with emotion. 

In a short time, however, a heavy volley of musketry 
was poured into the troops, dropping men who had 
passed unscathed the carnage of the day before. 
Some two thousand liberated convicts had armed 


themselves, and with as many soldiers, commenced 
firing on the Americans from the flat roofs of the 
houses, from the windows, and the corners of the 
streets. Garland was wounded in endeavoring to 
disperse the assailants, and it was not till after twenty- 
four hours of toil that these miscreants were at length 
cauo-ht or scattered. 

Tranquillity being restored, Scott levied a contribu- 
tion on the city, and organized a temporary govern- 
ment. His army of six thousand men appeared a mere 
handful in that spacious square, where Santa Anna, 
a few hours before, had manoeuvred thirty thousand. 
But there was a grandeur about it as it stood up in the 
heart of that great city, surrounded with the memories 
of so many victories, and presenting in itself the em- 
bodiment of so much power. That vast population 
might apparently rush npon it and crush it by the 
mere weight of their masses, yet there it stood, awing 
all by the terror of its name. The Mexicans gazed 
upon it in amazement. Since its conquering feet had 
been placed on their territory, it had taken twelve 
thousand prisoners, killed and wounded nearly ten 
thousand men, and captured colors and standards 
innumerable, together with more than seven hundred 
pieces of artiller}^, more than thirty thousand small 
inns, and shot and shells and munitions of war with- 
out end. In its very last onset it had trampled under 
foot thirty thousand men, defended by castle walls, 


intrenchments, and heavy artillery. Scoffing at num- 
bers, defying obstacles, it had moved on its victorious 
course with resistless power. Reduced it indeed was, 
but its adamantine columns stood firm as ever. The 
mere mention of the numbers captured and slain and 
wounded by it astounds one. The bare statistics 
sound like the fabulous deeds of some hero of romance. 
I^ever had so small an army so much glory to divide 
among its numbers. Proud of their renown and their 
leader's praise, they cheerfully obeyed his commands, 
and abstained from all those acts of violence and 
oppression which a conquering army in the heart of a 
city that has cost it such a sacrifice, feels it has a 
right to commit. Property and life were protected, 
and the inhabitants settled down into a feeling of 
security and peace, to which, under their own rulers, 
they had for years been strangers. The humblest 
individual could come to General Scott with his 
complaint, sure of receiving justice and protection. 
That army, whose name had carried terror into all 
hearts, was soon looked upon as the guarantee of 
their rights and the enjoyment of their social bless- 
ings. The Mexicans could not understand how such 
ferocious men in battle, such fire-eaters when raging 
amid their foes, could be so quiet in their deportment, 
so kind in their ways, and generous in their conduct. 
Scott, whose name had never been uttered without a 
shudder of fear, was beloved as their best protector 

AS A KULEB. 165 

and friend, and they sat down under his mild but 
firm sway in perfect contentment. 

But in the midst of his duties, on the very theatre 
of his exploits, surrounded by the battle-fields where 
he had ever been victorious, he was dragged before 
a court of inquiry to answer groundless charges pre- 
ferred against him. Nay, his command was taken 
from him and given to another. 

We have seen that from the commencement of 
the war the administration had heaped blunder on 
blunder, as if on purpose to keep up a contrast be- 
tween itself and the army, and thus let the latter 
have all the glory. The very efforts to injure Scott 
had turned out blunders ; they had reacted like 
" curses that come home to roost." It had, therefore, 
resolved on open attack ; the veteran of threescore, 
covered with laurels should be disgraced, and tried as 
a criminal on the very spot where he had triumphed. 
The Mexicans could not understand this. There was 
a cold-blooded hatred about it that seemed in their 
eyes to foretell his certain ruin. Yery probably it 
was this that induced them to believe he might be 
persuaded to remain in their midst, and prompted 
the offer of the presidency with a salary of two hun- 
dred thousand dollars per annum. The army seemed 
to worship him, and they had no doubt would 
cheerfully share his fortunes. 

The troops were indignant at the treatment of 


their commander, and hailed him with shouts when- 
ever he appeared. One day thej marched in front 
of the house he occupied, and would not be satisfied 
until he appeared on the balcony. The cheering 
that followed convinced the Mexican authorities 
that Scott had issued a pronunciamento, and they 
called upon him to ascertain the fact, and treat at 
once with him instead of the United States govern- 
ment. He, however, undeceived them ; told them 
the Americans were law-abiding men; that the 
president was commander-in-chief of the whole 
army, and the commanding-general was therefore 
bound to obey his orders. 

They went away disappointed and puzzled. How 
a man, apparently disgraced by his government, 
could so quietly submit, when he evidently had 
power to do otherwise, was so contrary to the course 
their own commanders pursued, that they could not 
comprehend it. 

It was with a sad heart Scott took leave of that 
gallant army, in whose midst he had marched to so 
many victories. A common danger, common toils, 
and hardships, had endeared them to him. Their 
unbounded devotion to his person, and the bravery 
and daring with which they had fulfilled all his 
orders; their patience under privations, humanity 
in the hour of victory, and peaceful obedience in the 
heart of a great city, around whose walls they had 


Bhed their blood, had bound them to him by a tie 
strong and tender. 

It was a ruthless blow that severed it. But the 
deed was done, and the faithful servant of his 
country, the peerless chieftain, shorn of his com- 
mand, turned his footsteps homeward. And when, 
from the summit of the Cordilleras, where a few 
weeks before he gazed down on the plains below, he 
turned to take a farewell look of the fields of his 
fame, sad, bitter thoughts mingled with glorious re- 

Through the cities which he had conquered, down 
the steeps of Cerro Gordo, still blackened with the 
smoke of his cannon, he continued his way, and at 
last entered Yera Cruz, more as a prisoner than a 
conqueror. Here a large and commodious vessel, 
direct for 'New Orleans, was offered him. But with 
that magnanimity and self-forgetfulness, which have 
always characterized him, he refused, saying, " No, 
my soldiers will soon be here and will need it," and 
taking a brig he set sail for New York. The vessel 
was crowded with sick and disabled men, and worn 
down by the incessant fatigue of the past six months, 
he himself was soon attacked by a disease that well 
nigh carried him to his grave. Weary and sick, he 
at length reached the harbor of New York, and with- 
out stopping to receive the congratulations of the 
city, passed on to his residence in Elizabethtown. 

168 wmriELD scott. 

This shunniug tlie presence of his countrymen, as 
though he suspected them of sharing the feelings ot 
the administration, cut them to the heart, and they re- 
solved to give him a manifestation of their love, which 
could not be misunderstood. A day was appointed 
for a public reception in Kew York, so that the peo- 
ple could render their verdict on his conduct. He 
landed amid salvos of artillery, and escorted by the 
entire military force of the city, passed through its 
principal streets. The public buildings were deco- 
rated with flags — every window was crowded with 
spectators waving their handkerchiefs, and the streets 
from limit to limit thronged with the tens of thous- 
ands who strove to catch a glimpse of the man who 
had wrought such wonders, and covered his country's 
flag with such unfading glory. As he rode slowly 
along a shout that shook the city arose around him. 
The people were speaking. Party feeling was for- 
gotten, and the animosities of factions were buried 
under the boundless enthusiasm, that burst forth on 
every side. The hero had been brought home to be 
disgraced, and the people were crowning him. His 
gallant heart was to be irritated and annoyed by 
petty accusations and fault-findings, and lo the 
thundering shout of " All Hail to the Chief," that 
rolled over the land, frightened his persecutors from 
their cowardly purpose. The heart of this republic 
is sound, however much it may err in judgement. 


In 1852 Scott was the "Whig candidate for President. 
Pierce, who served under him in Mexico, was the 
Democratic one. Though the campaign that followed 
was conducted with all the political rancor and excite- 
ment that ever disfigure our presidential contests, 
for once in our political history the character of one 
of the candidates stood out in such unsullied purity, 
and his life presented such a spotless record, that even 
tlie most unscrupulous partisans dared not assail it. He 
was defeated, but even his victors felt ashamed of 
their success, for it gave new force to the old maxim 
that " Eepublics are ungrateful." It was a sad com- 
ment on the good sense as well as justice of the 
people ; but it now seems that there was a providence 
in it ; for had he succeeded, his military services would 
have been lost to the country in its present crisis. 
Nor would this have been all ; not only would we 
have been deprived of his military services as head 
of the army, but some one might have occupied his 
place, like the veteran Twiggs, who would have been 
false to his high trust ; and, co-operating with the 
perjured Secretary of War, given tenfold power to 
the treason which now threatens the stability of the 
government. " Man proposes, but Grod disposes," and 
the hand of heaven seems to have kept from Scott the 
honors which were justly his due, that he might be 
spared for his country in the time of her greater need. 

Since 1852 Scott has been quietly engaged in 


the discharge of his military duties, with his head- 
quarters in New York. Congress, in very shame 
at the ingratitude of politicians, conferred on him 
the title of Lieutenant-general, with a salary of ten 
thousand dollars a year. 

In the sectional strife that has for years distracted 
the country, his far-seeing mind foresaw the perils 
into which the nation was drifting, and he exerted all 
his influence to ward them off. To him, civil war 
seemed the end of the republic, and no one will ever 
know in this world the mental suffering he has 
endured during the rapid gathering of the elements 
for the contest which is now upon us. To fight his 
fellow-citizens, his own hitherto faithful subordinates 
and companions — to fight his native state, his neigh- 
bors, and literally his own flesh and blood, was a 
terrible task. 

Neither does the country know the fearful pressure 
that his southern friends have brought to bear upon 
him to shake his loyalty. Though sufficient to 
overcome that of many officers whom we have here- 
tofore delighted to honor, it could make no impres* 
«^r>r on his. He was 

"faithful found 
Among the faithless 

Among innumerable false, unmoved, 
Unshaken, unseduced, unterrified, 
His loyalty he kept, his love, his zeal." 


Seeing the country forced at last to the terrible 
issue of civil war, he has not shrunk from meeting it 
boldly. And though he has reached a period of life 
which needs repose, and when the mind is averse to 
great and sustained effort, he has buckled on the 
harness with the vigor of early manhood, and exhi- 
bits the same clear foresight and mental grasp that he 
did in his best campaigns. His name is a host in itself, 
and the nation is not aware how it leans upon him, 
That it may not obtain this knowledge by his sudden 
death should be the prayer of every true patriot. 

We believe his life will be spared, if not to the 
close of the war, at least till the issue is put beyond 
doubt. He who poured out his blood to save his 
country's flag from dishonor at Lundy's Lane — • 
planted it in triumph on the castle of Yera Cruz, 
on the heights of Cerro Gordo, Contreras, Chapul- 
tepec, and the towers of Mexico, shall yet see it wave 
once more over the rebellious states, " the flag of the 
free," "not a star obscured or a stripe erased." 

What a glorious consummation will this be to his 
long brilliant military career. Then his countrymen 
will not shower honors upon his grave as the greatest 
military chieftain of his time, but as the saviour of 
bis country, a SECOND Washington". 

Thus the sun of his life, after passing its long and 
toilsome journey through the heavens without a 
cloud to obscure its brightness, will not with dimi 


nished and gentler radiance sink to rest, but, gather- 
ing glory as it descends, disappear in more than 
noontide splendor. 

The most striking points of General Scott's char- 
acter stand out in bold relief. In so long and event- 
ful a career, a man's character cannot be concealed. 
His actions reveal it. Probably a more fearless man 
never lived. Like Bonaparte, he may be irritated 
and disturbed by trifles,but danger always tranquilizes 
him. Those who have been with him most, say that 
in the moment of greatest peril, his lip wears its 
serenest expression. It is in the thunder crash of 
battle, and when the brave battalions are linked in 
deadliest combat that his heart beats calmest. It is 
a little singular that the greatest warriors (not merely 
desperate fighters, but men fit to be leaders of 
armies) have been distinguished for more than 
ordinary humanity, and tenderness of feeling. 

Murat, whose natural element seemed the smoke 
and carnage of battle, never drew his sword in com- 
bat, lest he should slay some one. Key, who moved 
amid death like one above its power, was as simple 
and tender as a child. The same is true of Scott. 
The sick and the distressed have not merely command- 
ed his sym/pathy but he has again and again risked 
his life to succor them. Stern, nay, almost tyrannical, 


as a disciplinarian, liis heart as a man is filled witli all 
generous emotions. He was in 'New York at the time 
of the Astor Place riot, and within hearing of the fir- 
ing. As his practiced ear caught the regular volleys of 
the soldiers, he wrung his hands and walked the room, 
in an agony of excitement, exclaiming, " tkey are 
Ji/ring volleys, they are shooting down citizensP — 
What an apparently strange contradiction. This 
man, whose nerves seemed made of iron in battle 
and who had galloped with the joy of the war- 
rior for hours, amid a hail-storm of bullets, could not 
control his feeling when he knew the blood of 
American citizens was flowing in the streets of l^ew 
York. But in the one case he acted as a commander 
whose business it was to conquer ; while here he was 
a man feeling for his fellow man. That burst of feel- 
ing did him more honor than the greatest victory he 
ever gained. 

Scott is also distinguished for great tenacity of 
purpose. What he has once resolved upon, he can- 
not relinquish. As he said, he never puts one foot 
forward without designing to bring the other up to 
it. The desperate manner in which he clung to the 
height at Lundy's Lane — charging like fire, when, 
but a quarter of his brigade was left, and crying 
out, as mangled and bleeding, he was borne from 
the field, " Charge again,^'' reveal a strength and 
firmness of will, that no earthly powei can shake. 



Such a man is hard to beat. As a military chieftain, 
he probably has no superior, if equal, in the world. 
Place a hundred and fifty thousand American troops 
drilled under his own supervision, in his hands, and 
the miracles of Napoleon would be wrought over 
again. He possesses all the qualities necessary 
to make a great commander. Courage, coolness in 
the hour of danger, fertility of resources, extensive 
yet rapid combination, the power of covering a vast 
field of operations, yet losing none of its details, per- 
fect control over his troops, tireless energy, and great 
humanity, combine in him, as they are rarely found 
in any man. Success cannot intoxicate him, nor de- 
feat enervate him. Tempted by no sudden stroke of 
good fortune into rashness, he cannot be made listless 
by disappointment. A less nicely balanced character 
would never have carried us safely through the diffi- 
culties on our northern frontier. 

His life is singularly clear of moral blemishes. 
Koble and confiding, he has often been wronged, yet 
he never could be forced into low retaliation or soured 
into distrust of his fellow-man. "While in Mexico, a 
friend warned him against an officer, whom he sus- 
pected of being an enemy in disguise. " I cannot 
help it," said the General. " It has all my life been 
a positive luxury to me to confide in my fellow-man, 
and rather than give it up, I should prefer being 
stabbed under the fifth rib daily," The temptations 


•which surround elevation to rank and power have 
never corrupted him ; and he is, at this day, as firm 
a friend of religion, temperance, and all the moral 
virtues, as though his life had been devoted solely to 
their inculcation. It is rare to see a long and public 
career so unstained by any vice. 

The most severe and fiery trial to which a man in 
this country can be subjected, is to be a candidate 
for the highest office in the republic. Yet from 
even this, though unsuccessful, he came out un- 
scathed. Not a charge that could affect the love 
and confidence of Ms countrymen was fastened 
on him. The only two accusations made against 
him worthy of notice are, that he is dictatorial, 
and vain ; and particular, and exacting about mere 
trifles. A dictatorial manner is almost inevitably 
attached to one who has always been accustomed 
to command. If self-conceit in him amounts to 
a fault, that fault never had a better or more sat- 
isfactory excuse. The latter defect, as it is termed, 
on which so many changes have been rung, is one of 
the most valuable elements in his character. It is 
the importance he places on details that makes his 
army so complete in all its departments and so like 
a single instrument in his hand. Knowing every- 
thing from the gi'eatest to the least, he is acquainted 
with all his resources, and hence does not attempt 
what he cannot carry out. 


It was liis habit in Mexico to require tlie attend- 
ance of the chiefs of every de_partment, every even 
ing at his quarters, where he interrogated and con- 
versed about their individual matters. From the 
quartermaster, he learned everything relating to 
hospitals, quarters, forage, trains, horses, pack mules, 
moneys in hand for future use, &c. &c. ; from the 
commissary, he found out the resources of the coun- 
try for provisions, the quantity in store, the means 
of transportation, the expectations beyond, as the 
country developed itself; from the medical chief he 
invariably knew of the health of the command, of 
the wounded, of the number of deaths, of the sup- 
ply of medicines, and the due attendance of a suffi- 
cient corps of surgeons at the hospitals, while from 
the general officers he knew even to the most trifling 
details of the regiments and corps. There was an 
officer appointed to a new regiment, as colonel, who 
had large influence withal as a politician, and who 
came out opposed to Greneral Scott politically and 
otherwise. At Jalapa, he called to see him, and 
when he left headquarters, he was amazed at the 
information in small matters that the general had at 
hand, " Why," said he, " he verifies the stories of 

Those who carp about particularity in small matters, 
should remember what grand results they have 
accomplished ; and they should remember, too, that 


this habit of such vital importance to a commander, 
like all other habits, cannot be put on and off at plea- 
sure. It may exhibit itself in matters wholly unim- 
portant, and a person witnessing it in one of such re- 
nown, will be amazed, forgetting entirely out of what 
a great basis it sprung. " The world is made up of 
little things," is a favorite maxim with him ; and the 
rigidity with which he enforced it in every depart- 
ment, alone saved the army in Mexico. 

" Republics," it is said, " are ungrateful," but 
posterity is just, and history eventually impartial. 

That the reader may obtain Scott's own views of 
the principal rebel leaders against whom he is now 
contending, I have appended his official despatch 
from Mexico. 

As Jefferson Davis, the head of the rebellion, ob- 
tained what military reputation he possesses in the 
battle of Buena Yista, I add also the following ex- 
tract from General Taylor's official despatch, to show 
the important services he rendered in that desperate 
engagement. It speaks well for his bravery, but 
furnishes no data by which, to judge of his capacity 
as commander-in-chief. General Taylor says : — 
" The Mississippi riflemen, under Col. Davis, were 
highly conspicuous for their gallantry and steadi- 
ness, and sustained throughout the engagement the 
reputation of veteran troops. Brought into action 
against an immensely superior force, they main- 


tained themselves for a long time unsupported 
and with heavy loss, and held an important part of 
the field until reinforced. Colonel Davis, though 
severely wounded, remained in the saddle until the 
close of the action. His distinguished coolness and 
gallantry at the head of his regiment on this day, 
entitle him to the particular notice of the govern- 
ment." His hostility to Scott for years is well known. 

Bragg, who commands the rebel forces around Fort 
Pickens, also distinguished himself in this battle by 
the cool manner and deadly effect with which he 
worked his battery. 

Beauregard, who commanded the attack on Fort 
Sumter, is a thin but square-built man. He was 
wounded before Mexico. Previous to this he was 
considered one of the strongest men in the United 
States. He still preserves great muscular power, 
and is probably the ablest general in the rebel army. 

Colonel Lee is a superbly formed man, a bold and 
skilful officer, and was very much beloved by Scott. 
It is said he loved him like a son. If report be true, 
his heart is not in this unnatural rebellion, and he 
has thrown himself in it, not from sympathy with its 
objects, but from a sense of duty to his native state. 
He is descended from a family which distinguished 
itself in the Revolution, and is not an officer in the 
presence of whom it would be safe to make a rash 


Pillow's military achievements every "one who 
runs may read," At Cerro Gordo, finding his bri- 
gade in a perilous position, he sent an aide to Scott 
in hot haste asking for a reinforcement of regulars, 
saying that if they were not sent immediately the 
battle was lost. Scott told the officer to hurry back 
and give his compliments to General Pillow and say 
that " the battle was already loony If his military 
prowess in the present contest does not win him more 
laurels than it did in the Mexican war, he never will 
be canonized by his countrymen. 

M'Culloch has long been known as a daring suc- 
cessful partisan officer, and here his capabilities end. 

" Headquarters of the Army. ) 
National Palace of Mexico, Sept. 18, 1847. J 

"Sm : — At the end of another series of arduous and 
brilliant operations of more than forty-eight hours' 
continuance, this glorious army hoisted, on the morn* 
ing of the 14th, the colors of the United States on 
the walls of this palace. 

" The victory of the 8th, at the Molino del Eey 
was followed by daring reconnaissances on the part 
of our distinguished engineers — ^Capt. Lee, Lieuts. 
Beauregard, Stevens, and Tower,. — Major Smith, 
senior, being sick, and Capt. Mason, third in rank, 
w^ounded. Their operations were directed principally 


to the south — towards the gates of the Piedad, San 
Angel, (Nino Perdido,) San Antonio, and the Paseo 
de la Yiga. 

"This city stands on a slight swell of ground, near 
the centre of an irregular basin, and is girdled with 
a ditch in its greater extent — a navigable canal of 
great breadth and dej)th — very difficult to bridge in 
the presence of an enemy, and serving at once for 
drainage, custom-house purposes, and military de- 
fence ; leaving eight entrances or gates, over arches 
— each of which we found defended by a system cf 
strong works, that seemed to require nothing but 
some men and guns to be impregnable. 

" Outside and within the cross-fires of those gates, 
we found to the south other obstacles but little less 
formidable. All the approaches near the city are 
over elevated causeways, cut in many places (to op- 
pose us), and flanked on both sides by ditches, also 
of unusual dimensions. The numerous cross-roads 
are flanked in like manner, having bridges at the 
intersections, recently broken. The meadows thus 
checkered, are, moreover, in many spots, under water 
or marshy ; for, it will be remembered, we were in 
the midst of the wet season, though with less rain 
than usual, and we could not wait for the fall of the 
neighboring lakes and the consequent drainage of 
the wet grounds at the edge of the city — the lowest 
in the whole basin. 


After a close personal survey of the southerD 
gates, covered by Pillow's division and Riley's bri- 
gade of Twiggs' — with four times our numbers con- 
centrated in our immediate front — I determined on 
the 11th to avoid that net-work of obstacles, and to 
seek, by a sudden diversion, to the southwest and 
west, less unfavorable approaches. 

To economise the lives of our gallant officers and 
men, as well as to ensure success, it became indis- 
pensable that this resolution should be long masked 
from the enemy ; and again, that the new movement, 
Avhen discovered, should be mistaken for a feint, 
and the old as indicating our true and ultimate point 
of attack. 

Accordingly, on the spot, the 11th, I ordered 
Quitman's division from Coyoacan, to join Pillow, 
by daylight, before the southern gates, and then that 
the two major-generals, with their divisions, should 
by night, proceed (twomiles) to join me at Tacubaya, 
where I was quartered with "Worth's division. 
Twiggs, with Riley's brigade and Captain Taylor's 
and Steptoe's field batteries — tlie latter of 12-poun- 
ders — was left in front of those gates, to manoeuvre, 
to threaten, or to make false attacks, in order to oc- 
cupy and deceive the enemy, Twiggs' other bri 
gade (Smith's) was left at supporting distance, in 
the rear, at San Angel, till the morning of the 13th, 
and also to support our general depot at Miscoac 


The stratagem against the south was admirably exe- 
cuted throughout the 12th and down to the afternoon 
of the 13th, when it was too late for the enemy to 
recover from the effects of his delusion. 

"The first step in the new movement was to carry 
Chapultepec, a natural and isolated mound, of great 
elevation, strongly fortified at its base, on its accliv- 
ities, and heights. Besides a numerous garrison, 
here was the military college of the republic, with 
a large number of sub-lieutenants and other students. 
Those works were within direct gun-shot of the vil- 
lage of Tacubaya, and, until carried, we could not 
approach the city on the west, without making a 
circuit too wide and too hazardous, 

" In the course of the same night (that of the 11th) 
heavy batteries, within easy ranges, were established. 
]^o, 1, on our right, under the command of Capt. 
Drum, 4th artillery, (relieved late next day, for some 
hours, by Lieut. Andrews of the 3d,) and No. 2, 
commanded by Lieut. Hagner, ordnance — both sup- 
ported by Quitman's division. Nos. 3 and 4 on the 
opposite side, supported by Pillow's division, were 
commanded, the former by Capt. Brooks and Lieut. 
S, S. Anderson, 2d artillery, alternately, and the lat- 
ter by Lieut. Stone, ordnance. The batteries were 
traced by Capt. Huger and Capt. Lee, engineer, 
and constructed by them with the able assistance 



of the young officers of those corps and the artil- 

" To prepare for an assault, it was foreseen that 
the play of the batteries might run into the second 
day ; but recent captures had not only trebled our 
seige pieces, but also our ammunition ; and we knew 
that we should greatly augment both by carrying the 
place. I was, therefore, in no haste in ordering an 
assault before the works were well crippled by our 

"The bombardment and cannonade, under the 
direction of Capt. Huger, were commenced early in 
the morning of the 12th. Before nightfall, which 
necessarily stopped our batteries, we had perceived 
that a good impression had been made on the castle 
and its outworks, and that a large body of the enemy 
had remained outside, towards the city, from an early 
hour, to avoid our fire, and to be at hand on its ces- 
sation, in order to reinforce the garrison against an 
assault. The same outside force was discovered the 
next morning, after our batteries had re-opened upon 
the castle, by which we again reduced its garrison to 
the minimum needed for the guns. 

" Pillow and Quitman had been in position since 
early in the night of the 11th. Major-general Worth 
was now ordered to hold his division in reserve, near 
the foundry, to support Pillow ; and Brigadier-general 


Smith, of Twiggs' division, had just arrived with hia 
brigade from Piedad (two miles,) to support Quitman. 
Twiggs' guns, before the southern gates, again re- 
minded us, as the day before, that he, with JRiley's 
brigade, and Taylor's and Steptoe's batteries, was in 
activity, threatening the southern gates, and there 
holding a great part of the Mexican army on the de. 

" "Worth's division furnished Pillow's attack with 
an assaulting party of some two hundred and fifty 
volunteer officers and men, under Capt. M'Kenzie, of 
the 2d artillery ; and Twiggs' division supplied a 
similar one, commanded by Capt. Oassey, 2d infantry, 
to Quitman. Each of those little columns was fur- 
nished with scaling ladders. 

" The signal I had appointed for the attack was the 
momentary cessation of fire on the part of our heavy 
batteries. About eight o'clock in the morning of the 
13th, judging that the time had arrived by the effects 
of the missiles we had thrown, I sent an aid-de-camp 
to Pillow, and another to Quitman, with notice that 
the concerted signal was about to be given. Both 
columns now advanced with an alacrity that gave 
assurance of prompt success. The batteries, seizing 
Dpportunities, threw shots and shells upon the enemy 
over the heads of our men, with good effect, particu- 
larly at every attempt to reinforce the works from 
without to meet our assault. 


" Major-general Pillow's approach, on tlie west side, 
lay through an open grove, filled with sharp-shooters, 
who were speedily dislodged ; when being up with 
the front of the attack, and emerging into open space, 
at the foot of a rocky acclivity, that gallant leader was 
struck down by an agonizing wound. The immediate 
command devolved on Brigadier-general Cadwall- 
ader, in the absence of the senior brigadier (Pierce) 
of the same division — an invalid since the events of 
August 19. On a previous call of Pillow, "Worth 
had just sent him a reinforcement — Colonel Clarke's 

" The broken acclivity was still to be ascended, and 
a strong redoubt, midway, to be carried, before reach- 
ing the castle on the heights. The advance of our 
brave men, led by brave officers, though necessarily 
slow, was unwavering, over rocks, chasms, and mines, 
and under the hottest fire of cannon and musketry. 
The redoubt now yielded to resistless valor, and the 
shouts that followed announced to the castle the fate 
that impended. The enemy were steadily driven 
from shelter to shelter. The retreat allowed not time 
to fire a single mine, without the certainty of blowing 
up friend and foe. Those who at a distance attempted 
to apply matches to the long trains, were sliot down 
by our men. There was death below, as well as above 
cround. At length the ditch and wall of the main 
work were reached ; the scaling ladders were brought 


up and planted bv the storming parties; some of the 
daring spirits first in the assault were cast down — 
killed or wounded ; but a lodgment was soon made ; 
streams of heroes followed ; all opposition was over- 
come, and several of our regimental colors flung oul 
from the upper walls, amidst long-continued shouts 
and cheers, which sent dismay into the capital. Ko 
scene could have been more animating or glorious. 

" Major-general Quitman, nobly supported by 
Brigadier-generals Shields and Smith, (P. F.,) his 
other officers and men, was up with the part assigned 
him. Simultaneously with the movement on the 
west, he had gallantly approached the southeast of 
the same works, over a causeway with cuts and bat- 
teries, and defended by an army strongly posted out- 
side, to the east of the works. Those formidable ob- 
stacles Quitman had to face, with but little shelter 
for his troops or space for manoeuvring. Deep 
ditches flanking the causeway, made it difficult to 
cross on either side into the adjoining meadows, and 
these again were intersected by other ditches. Smith 
and his brigade had been early thrown out U make a 
sweep to the right, in order to present a front against 
the enemy's line, (outside,) and to turn two interven- 
ing batteries near the foot of Chapultepec. This 
movement was also intended to support Quitman's 
storming parties, both on the causeway. The first of 
these, furnished by Twiggs' division, was commanded 


in succession by Captain Casey, 2d infantry, and 
Captain Paul, Tth infantry, after Casey had been 
severely wounded ; and the second, originally under 
the gallant Major Twiggs, marine corps, killed, and 
then Captain Miller, 2d Pennsylvania volunteers. 
The storming party, now commanded by Captain 
Paul, seconded by Captain Roberts, of the rifles, 
Lieutenant Stewart, and others of the same regiment, 
Smith's brigade, carried the two batteries in the road, 
took some guns, with many prisoners, and drove the 
enemy posted behind in support. The New York 
and South Carolina volunteers (Shields' brigade) and 
the 2d Pennsylvania volunteers, all on the left of 
Quitman's line, together with portions of his storm- 
ing parties, crossed the meadows in front, under a 
heavy fire, and entered the outer enclosure of Cha- 
"ultepec just in time to join in the final assault from 
the west. 

Besides Major-generals Pillow and Quitman, Bri- 
gadier-generals Shields, Smith, and Cadwallader, the 
following are the officers and corps most distinguish- 
ed in those brilliant operations : The voltigeur regi- 
ment in two detachments, commanded respectively 
by Colonel Andrews and Lieutenant-colonel John- 
stone — the latter mostly in the lead, accompanied by 
Major Caldwell ; Captains Barnard and Biddle, of 
the same regiment — the former the first to plant a re- 
gimental color, and the latter among the first in the 


assault ; the storming party of Worth's division, un- 
Qor Captain McKenzie, 2d artillery, with Lieutenant 
Seldon, 8th infantry, early on the ladder and badly 
wounded ; Lieutenant Armistead, 6th infantry, the 
first to leap into the ditch to plant a ladder; Lieuten- 
ants Rogers of the 4th, and J. P. Smith of the 5th in- 
fantry — both mortally wounded ; the 9th infantry, 
under Colonel Ransom, who was killed while gal- 
lantly leading that gallant regiment ; the 15th in- 
fantry, under Lieutenant-colonel Howard and Major 
"Woods, with Captain Chase, whose company gallant- 
ly carried the redoubt, midway by the acclivity ; 
Col. Clarke's brigade, (Worth's division,) consisting of 
the 5th, 8th, and part of the 6th regiments of infantry, 
commanded respectively by Captain Chapman, Major 
Montgomery, and Lieutenant Edward Johnson — the 
latter specially noticed, with Lieutenants Longstreet, 
(badly wounded, advancing, colors in hand,) Pickett, 
and Merchant, the last three of the 8th infantry ; por- 
tions of the United States marines. New York, South 
Carolina, and 2d Pennsylvania volunteers, which, de- 
layed with their division (Quitman's) by the hot en- 
gagement below, arrived just in time to participate 
in the assault of the heights — particularly a detach- 
ment under Lieutenant Reid, JSTew York volunteers, 
consisting of a company of the same, with one of 
marines ; and another detachment, a portion of the 
storming party, (Twiggs' division, serving with Quit* 


man,) under Lieutenant Steele, 2d infantry, after the 
fall of Lieutenant Gantt, 7th infantry. 

In this connection, it is but just to recall the deci- 
sive effect of the heavy batteries, Nos. 1, 2, 3, and 4, 
commanded by those excellent officers. Captain 
Drum, 4th artillery, assisted by Lieutenants Benja- 
min and Porter of his own company ; Captain Brooks 
and Lieutenant Anderson, 2d artillery, assisted by 
Lieutenant Russell, 4th infantry, a volunteer ; Lieu- 
tenants Hagner and Stone of the ordnance, and Lieu- 
tenant Andrews, 3d artillery ; the whole superintend 
ed by Captain Huger, chief of ordnance with this 
army — an officer distinguished by every kind of 
merit. The mountain howitzer battery, under Lieu- 
tenant Reno, of the ordnance, deserves, also, to be 
particularly mentioned. Attached to the voltigeurs, 
it followed the movements of that regiment, and 
again won applause. 

In adding to the list of individuals of conspicuous 
merit, I must limit myself to a few of the many 
names which might be enumerated : Captain Hooker, 
assistant adjutant-general, who won special applause, 
successively, in the staff of Pillow and Cadwallader ; 
Lieutenant Lovell, 4th artillery, (wounded,) chief of 
Quitman's staff; Captain Page, assistant adjutant- 
general, (wounded,) and Lieutenant Hammond, 3d 
artillery, both of Shields' staff, and Lieutenant Yan 


Dorn, (7th infantry,) aid-de-camp to Brigadier-general 

Those operations all occurred on the west, south- 
east, and heights of Chapultepec. To the north and 
at the base of the mound, inaccessible on that side, 
the 11th infantry, under Lieut. Col. Hebert, the 14th, 
under Col. Trousdale, and Capt. Magruder's field 
battery, 1st artillery — one section advanced under 
Lieut. Jackson — all of Pillow's division — had, at the 
same time, some spirited affairs against superior 
numbers, driving the enemy from a battery in the 
road, and capturing a gun. In these, the officers and 
corps named gained merited praise. Colonel Trous- 
dale, the commander, though twice wounded, con- 
tinued on duty until the heights were carried. 

Early in the morning of the 13th, I repeated the 
orders of the night before to Major-general Worth, to 
be, with his division at hand, to support the move- 
ment of Major-general Pillow from our left. The 
latter seems soon to have called for that entire 
division, standing momentarily in reserve, and "Worth 
sent him Col. Clarke's brigade. The call, if not 
unnecessary, was at least, from the circumstances, 
unknown to me at the time ; for, soon observing that 
the very large body of the enemy, in the road in front 
of Major-general Quitman's right, was receiving rein- 
forcements from the city — less than a mile and a halt 
to the east — I sent instructions to "Worth, on our 


opposite flank, to turn Cliapultepec with his division, 
and to proceed cautiously, by the road at its northern 
base, in order, if not met by very superior numbers, 
to threaten or to attack, in rear, that body of the 
enemy. The movement, it was also believed, could 
not fail to distract and to intimidate the enemy gen- 

""Worth promply advanced with his remaining 
brigade — Colonel Garland's — Lieut. Col. C. F. 
Smith's light battalion, Lieut. Col. Duncan's field 
battery — all of his division — and three squadrons of 
dragoons, under Major Sumner, which I had just 
ordered up to join in the movement. 

" Having turned the forest on the west, and arriv- 
ing opposite to the north centre of Chapultepec, 
Worth came up with the troops in the road, under 
Col. Trousdale, and aided, by a flank movement of a 
part of Garland's brigade, in taking the one gun 
breastwork, then under the fLre of Lieut. Jackson's 
section of Capt. Magruder's field battery. Continu- 
ing to advance, this division passed Chapultepec, 
attacking the right of the enemy's line, resting on 
that road, about the moment of the general retreat 
consequent upon the capture of the formidable castle 
and its outworks. 

Arriving some minutes later, and mounting to the 
top of the castle, the whole field, to the east, lay 
plainly under my view. 


"There are two routes from Cliapultepec to the 
capital — the one on the right entering the same gate, 
Belen, with the road from the south, via Piedad ; 
and the other obliquing to the left, to intersect the 
great western, or San Cosmo road, in a suburb out- 
side of the gate of San Cosmo. 

" Each of these routes (an elevated causeway,) pre- 
sents a double roadway on the sides of an aqueduct 
of strong masonry and great height, resting on 
open arches and massive pillars, which together 
afford fine points both for attack and defence. The 
sideways of both aqueducts are, moreover, defended 
by many strong breastworks at the gates, and before 
reaching them. As we had expected, we found the 
four tracks unusually dry and solid for the season. 

" Worth and Quitman were prompt in pursuing the 
retreating enemy — the former by the San Cosrn* 
aqueduct, and the latter along that of Belen, Each 
had now advanced some hundred yards. 

" Deeming it all-important to profit by our suc- 
cesses and the consequent dismay of the enemy, 
which could not be otherwise than general, I hastened 
to despatch from Chapultepec — first Clark's brigade, 
and then Cadwallader's, to the support of "Worth, 
and gave orders that the necessary heavy guns 
should follow. Pierce's brigade was, at the same 
time, sent to Quitman, and, in the course of the 
afternoon, I caused some additional siege pieces to 



be added to his train. Tlien, after designating the 
15th infantry, nnder Lieut. Col. Howard — ^Mor- 
gan, the colonel, had been disabled by a wound 
at Churubusco — as the garrison of Chapultepec, 
and giving directions for the care of the prison- 
ers of war, the captured ordnance and ordnance 
stores, I proceeded to join the advance of Worth, 
within the suburb, and beyond the turn at the junc- 
tion of the aqueduct with the great highway from 
the west to the gate of San Cosmo. 

"At this junction of roads, we first passed one of 
those formidable systems of city defences, spoken 
of above, and it had not a gun ! — a strong proof, 
1. That the enemy had expected us to fail in the at- 
tack upon Chapultepec, even if we meant anything 
more than a feint ; 2. That, in either case, we de- 
signed, in his belief, to return and double our forces 
against the southern gates — -a delusion kept up by 
the active demonstrations of Twiggs and the forces 
posted on that side ; and, 3. That advancing rapidly 
from the reduction of Chapultepec, the enemy had 
not time to shift guns — our previous captures had 
left him, comparatively, but few — 'from the southern 

" Within those disgarnished works, I found our 
troops engaged in a street fight against the enemy 
posted in gardens, at windows, and on house-tops — 

all flat, with parapets. Worth ordered forward the 



mountain howitzers of Cadwallacler's brigade, pre- 
ceded by skirmisliers and pioneers, with pickaxes 
and crowbars, to force windows and doors, or to bur- 
row thro ugh walls. The assailants were soon in an 
equalitity of position fatal to the enemj. By eight 
o'clock in the evening, Worth had carried two bat- 
teries in this suburb. According to my instructions, 
he here posted guards and sentinels, and placed his 
troops under shelter for the night. There was but 
one more obstacle — the San Cosmo gate, (custom- 
house,) between him and the great square in front 
of the cathedral and palace, the heart of the city ; 
and that barrier it was known could not, by daylight, 
resist our siege guns thirty minutes. 

" I had gone back to the foot of Chapultepec, the 
point from which the two aqueducts begin to diverge, 
some hours earlier, in order to be near that new 
depot, and in easy communication with Quitman and 
Twiggs, as well as with Worth. 

" From this point I ordered all detachments and 
stragglers to their respective corps, then in advance ; 
sent to Quitman additional siege guns, ammunition, 
intrenching tools ; directed Twiggs' remaining bri- 
gade (Riley's) from Piedad, to support Worth and 
Captain Steptoe's field-battery, also at Piedad, to re- 
join Quitman's division. 

" I had been, from the first, well aware that the 
western or San Cosmo, was the less difficult route to 



tlie centre, and conquest of tlie capital^ and therefore 
intended tliat Quitman should only manoeuvre and 
threaten the Belen or southwestern gate, in order to 
favor the main attack hy Worth, knowing that the 
strong defences at the Belen were directly under the 
guns of the much stronger fortress, called the Citadel, 
just within. Both of these defences of the enemy 
were also within easy supporting distance from the 
San Angel, orlSTino Perdido, and San Antonio gates. 
Hence the greater support, in numbers, given to 
"Worth's movement as the main attack. 

" These views I repeatedly, in the course of the 
day, communicated to Major-general Quitman; but 
being in hot pursuit — ^gallant himself, and ably sup- 
ported by Brigadier-generals Shields and Smith, 
Shields badly wounded before Chapultepec, and re- 
fusing to retire, as well as by all the officers and men 
of the column — 'Quitman continued to press for- 
ward, under flank and direct fires, carried an inter- 
mediate l)attery of two guns, and then the gate, 
before two o'clock in the afternoon, but not with- 
out proportionate loss, increased by his steady 
maintenance of that position. 

" Here, of the heavy battery, (4th artillery,) Capt. 
Drum and Lieutenant Benjamin were mortally 
wounded, and Lieutenant Porter, its third in rank, 
slightly. The loss of those two most distinguished 
officers the army will long mourn. Lieutenants J 



B. Morange and William Canty, of tlie South Caro- 
lina volunteers, also of high merit, fell on the same 
occasion, besides many of our bravest non-commis- 
eioned officers and men, particularly in Captain 
Drum's veteran company. I cannot, in this place, 
give names or numbers ; but full returns of the killed 
and wounded, of all corps, in their recent operations, 
will accompany tliis report. 

" Quitman within the city — adding several new de- 
fences to the position he had won, and sheltering his 
corps as well as practicable — now awaited the return 
of daylight under the guns of the formidable citadel, 
yet to be subdued. 

" About 4 o'clock next morning, (Sept. 14,) a 
deputation of the ayuntamiento (city council) waited 
upon me to report that the federal government and 
the army of Mexico had fled from the capital some 
three hours before ; and to demand terms of capitu- 
lation in favor of the church, the citizens, and the 
municipal authorities. I promptly replied, that I 
would sign no capitulation ; that the city had been 
virtually in our possession from the time of the lodg- 
ments effected by Worth and Quitman the day be- 
fore ; that I regretted the silent escape of the Mexi- 
can army ; that I should levy upon the city a mode- 
rate contribution, for special purposes ; and that the 
American army should come under no terms not 
self-imposed ; such only as its own honor, the dignity 


of tlie United States, avA tlie spirit uf tlie age, sliould, 
in my opinion, imperiously demand and impose. 

" For the terms, so imposed, I refer tlie department 
to subsequent General Orders, ISTos. 287 and 289, (par- 
agraphs 7, 8, and 9 of tlie latter,) copies of which are 
herewith enclosed. 

" At the termination of the interview with the city 
deputation, I communicated, about daylight, orders 
to Worth and Quitman to advance slowly and cau- 
tiously (to guard against treachery) toward the heart 
of the city, and to occupy its stronger and more com- 
manding points, Quitman proceeded to the great 
plaza or square, planted guards, and hoisted the 
colors of the United States on the national palace, 
containing the halls of Congress and executive de- 
partments of federal Mexico. In this grateful service, 
Quitman might have been anticipated by Worth, but 
for my express orders, halting the latter at the head 
of the Alameda, (a green park,) within three squares 
of that goal of general ambition. The caj)ital, how- 
ever, was not taken by any one or two corps, but by 
the talent, the science, the gallantry, the prowess of 
this entire army. In the glorious conquest, all had 
contributed, early and powerfully, the killed, the 
wounded, and the j&t for duty, at Yera Cruz, Cerro 
Gordo, Contreras, San Antonia, Churubusco, (three 
Dattles,) the Molino del liey, and Chapultepec, ae 

198 wmriELD scott. 

mucli as those who fought at the gates of Belen and 
San Cosmo. 

" Soon after we had entered, and were in the act of 
occupying the city, a fire was opened upon us from 
the flat roofs of the houses, from windows, and corners 
of streets, by some two thousand convicts, liberated 
the night before by the flying government, joined by, 
perhaps, as many Mexican soldiers, who had disbanded 
themselves, and thrown ofi" their uniforms. This un- 
lawful war lasted more than twenty-four hours, in 
spite of the exertions of the municipal authorities, and 
was not put down till we had lost many men, includ- 
ing several oflicers, killed or wounded, and had 
punished the miscreants. Their objects were to 
gratify national hatred, and in the general alarm and 
confusion, to plunder the wealthy inhabitants, par- 
ticularly the deserted houses. But families are now 
generally returning ; business of every kind has been 
resumed, and the city is already tranquil and cheer- 
ful, under the admirable conduct (with exceptions 
very few and trifling) of our gallant troops. 

" This army has been more disgusted than sur- 
prised, that by some sinister process on the part of 
certain individuals at home, its numbers have been, 
generall V, almost trebled in our public papers, begin- 
nino; at Washino'ton. 

" Leaving, as we all feared, inadequate garrisons 
at Vera Cruz, Perote, and Puebla, with much larger 


hospitals ; and being obliged, irost reluctantly, from 
the same cause (general paucity of numbers) to aban- 
don Jalapa, we marched (August 7-10) from Puebla 
with only 10,738 rank and file. This number includes 
the garrison of Jalapa, and the 2,429 men brought up 
by Brigadier-general Pierce, August 6. 

" At Contreras, Churubusco, &c., [August 20,] we 
had but 8,197 men engaged — after deducting the 
garrison of San Augustin, (our general depot,) the in- 
termediate sick and the dead ; at the Molino del 
Rey, (September 8,) but three brigades, with some 
cavalry and artillery — making in all 3,251 men — 
were in the battle; in the two days — September 12th 
and 13th — our whole operating force, after deducting, 
again, the recent killed, wounded, and sick, together 
with the garrison of Miscoac (the then general depot) 
and that of Tacubaya, was but 7,180 ; and, finally, 
after deducting the new garrison of Chapultepec, 
with the killed and wounded of the two days, we took 
possession (September 14th,) of this great capital with 
less than 6,000 men. And I re-assert, upon accumu- 
lated and unquestionable evidence, that, in not one of 
those conflicts was this army opposed by fewer than 
three-and-a-half times its numbers — in several of them, 
by a yet greater excess. 

''' I recapitulate our losses since we arrived in the 
basin of Mexico. 

" August 19, 20.— Killed, 137, including 14 officers. 



— "Wounded, 8YY, including 62 officers. Missing, 
(probably killed,) 38 rank and file. Total, 1,052. 

" Septeiviber 8. — Killed, 116, including 9 officers. 
— Wounded, 665, including 49 officers. Missing, 18 
rank and file. Total, T89. 

" Septembee 12,13,14.— Killed, 130, including 10 
officers. "Wounded, Y03, including 68 officers. Miss- 
ing, 29 rank and file. Total, 862. 

" Grand total of losses, 2,703, including 383 officers. 

On the other hand, this small force has beaten on 
the same occasions in view of their capital, the whole 
Mexican army, of (at the beginning) thirty-odd thou- 
sand men — posted, always, in chosen positions, behind 
intrenchments, or more formidable defences of nature 
and art ; killed or wounded, of that number, more 
than 7,000 officers and men ; taken 3,730 prisoners, 
one-seventh officers, including 13 generals, of whom 
3 had been presidents of this republic ; captured more 
than 20 colors and standards, 75 pieces of ordnance, 
besides 57 wall pieces, 20,000 small arms, an immense 
quantity of shots, shells, powder, &c., &c. 

Of that enemy, once so formidable in numbers, 
appointments, artillery, &c., twenty-odd thousand 
have disbanded themselves in despair, leaving, as is 
known, not more than three fragments — the largest 
about 2,500 — now wandering in different directions, 
without magazines or a military chest, and living at 
free quarters upon their own people. 


General Santa Anna, himself a fugitive, is believed 
to be on the point of resigning the chiet-magistracy, 
and escaping to neutral Guatemala. A new Presi- 
dent, no doubt, will soon be declared, and the federal 
Congress is expected to reassemble at Queretaro, 125 
miles north of this, on the Zacatecas road, some time 
in October. I have seen and giv^en safe conduct 
through this city to several of its members. The 
government will find itself without resources ; no 
army, no arsenals, no magazines, and but little reve- 
nue, internal or external. Still, such is the obstinacy, 
or rather infatuation, of this people, that it is very 
doubtful whether the new authorities will dare to sue 
for peace on the terms which in the recent negotia- 
tions, were made known by ouv minister. 

In conclusion, I beg to enumerate, once more, with 
due commendation and thanks, the distinguished 
staff officers, general and personal, who, in our last 
operations in front of the enemy, accompanied me, 
and communicated orders to every point and through 
every danger. Lieutenant-colonel Hitchcock, acting 
inspector-general; Major Turnbull and Lieutenant 
Hardcastle, topographical engineers ; Major Kirby, 
chief paymaster ; Captain Irwin, chief quartermaster; 
Captain Grayson, chief commissarj' ; Captain H. L. 
Scott, chief in the adjutant-general's department; 
Lieutenant AVilliams, aid-de-camp; Lieutenant Lay, 


203 avi:nfield scott. 

militarj secretary ; and Major J. P, Gaines, Kentucky, 
cavalry, volunteer aid-de-camp ; Captain Lee, engi- 
neer, so constantly distinguished, also bore important 
orders from me, (Sept. 13,) until he fainted from a 
wound and the loss of two nights' sleep at the batte- 
ries. Lieutenants Beauregard, Stevens, and Tower, 
all wounded, were employed with the divisions, and 
Lieutenants G. W. Smith and G. B. McClellan, with 
the company of sappers and miners. Those five lieu- 
tenants of engineers, like their captain, won the 
admiration of all about them. The ordnance officers. 
Captain Huger, Lieutenants Hagner, Stone, and Reno, 
were highly eflfective, and distinguished at the several 
batteries ; and I must add that Captain McKinstry, 
assistant quartermaster, at the close of the operations, 
executed several important commissions for me as a 
special volunteer. 

Surgeon-general Lawson, and the medical staff 
generally, were skilful and untiring, in and out of 
fire, in ministering to the numerous wounded. 

To illustrate the operations in this basin, I enclose 
two beautiful drawings, prepared under the directions 
of Major Turnbull, mostly from actual survey. 

I have the honor to be, sir, with high respect, ycsit 
most obedient servant, 


The Hon. Wm. L. Makcy, Secretary of War.